Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS:

TH ARABIAN NIGHTS' INTERTAINMENTS

TRANSLATED BY

EDWARD WILLIAM LANE

HULED BY

STANY LANE-POOLE, M. A., LITT.D.

IN FOUR VOLL JES

VOL. I

LONDON

GEORGE BELL & SONS

THE THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS:

THE ARABIAN NIGHTS'
ENTERTAINMENTS

TRANSLATED BY

EDWARD WILLIAM LANE

EDITED BY

STANLEY LANE-POOLE, M.A., LITT.D.

IN FOUR VOLUMES

1

VOL. I

LONDON

GEORGE BELL & SONS

Tany

1994 MARD COLLEGE LIBRARY
GIFT OF THE

AND LAW SCHOOL

July 27, 1934

PRINTED BY

WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED
LONDON AND BECCLES

f

PREFACE

66

FEW story-books have enjoyed the popularity of the "Arabian Nights." For two centuries children have marvelled at the wonders of the Eastern fairyland and older readers have delighted in the picture of medieval Arab life which the "Thousand and One Nights" unfold. It is singular that so little should be known of the origin and history of a book so renowned. We know that Galland discovered the Arabic original and published his French translation in 1704-1707, but of the date and place and manner of its composition we know scarcely anything. The native critics of Arabic literature paid small attention to a collection of romances which appeared to them (as one of them wrote) only as a corrupt book of silly tales." A work called the "Thousand Nights" or "Thousand and One Nights" is referred to twice in the tenth century by Arabic historians, who say it was translated from a Persian story-book called the "Thousand Tales"; but we do not possess this Persian book, and have no means of determining how far it corresponded with the "Arabian Nights" as we know it, or how far the "Thousand and One Nights" of the tenth century resembled the book which Galland and Lane and others translated. All that we can safely deduce from these meagre references is that the framing scheme of the "Nights"-of the jealous Sultan who kills a wife every morning till Shahrazad keeps him interested in her stories-was borrowed from the Persian "Thousand Tales," and

« PreviousContinue »