Bawdy and exotic, Arabian Nights, features the wily, seductive Scheherazade, who saves her own life by telling tales of magical transformations, genies and wishes, flying carpets and fantastical journeys, terror and passion to entertain and appease the brutal King Shahryar. First introduced into the West in 1704, the stories of The Thousand and One Nights are most familiar to American readers in sanitized children's versions.
This modern edition, based on Richard F. Burton's unexpurgated translation, restores the sensuality and lushness of the original Arabic. (Unexpurgated was a new word to us. It means, basically, "unpurified." This is a bit too much for younger readers.) Here are the famous adventures of Sinbad, "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves," and "Aladdin and the Magic Lamp." Here too are less familiar stories, such as "Prince Behram and the Princess Al-Datma," a delightful early version of The Taming of the Shrew and "The Wily Dalilah and her Daughter Zaynab," a hilarious tale about two crafty women who put an entire city of men in their place. Intricate and imaginative, these stories-within-stories told over a thousand and one nights continue to captivate readers as they have for centuries.