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Arabian Nights [Paperback]

Husain Haddawy
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 19.00
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Book Description

May 13 2008
Now as sumptuously packaged as they are critically acclaimed, these are new deluxe trade paperback editions of the beloved stories. Husain Haddawy's "highly recommended" ("The Times") translation of "The Arabian Nights" is based on a landmark reconstruction of the earliest extant manuscript version. Readers of this classic will also want Sindbad, "beautiful versions of dozens more gems from the Arab story-hoard" ("New Statesman"), including "Aladdin and the Magic Lamp".

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Product Details

Product Description


"Haddawy's translation is easily the clearest, most fluent and readable I have met." A.S. Byatt, The Sunday Times "The resourceful Shahrazad... has never been more entertaining than in this fresh and vigorous version of this immortal book." Doris Lessing, Favourite Books of the Year, The Independent"

About the Author

Husain Haddawy was born and grew up in Baghdad, taught English and comparative literature at various American universities, wrote art criticism, and is now living in retirement in Thailand.

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First Sentence
It is said, O wise and happy King, that once there was a prosperous merchant who had abundant wealth and investments and commitments in every country. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ladder of Love Nov. 8 2003
I read this book several years ago during a time in my life when I was free to devote a good deal of time to it. I immersed myself in it for quite a while, making charts and graphs to keep track of the intricate structure of stories within stories. When I was about half or three quarters of the way through, I began to experience a sort of spiritual excitement or intoxication, similar to experiences I had reading Hegel's *Logic*, or the works of Meher Baba, or some other works. I called the author and told him about this, and told him I thought it was a spiritual book. He said no one has done anything, as far as he knows, to examine or explain the book in that way. I believe many of the characters and situations are symbols for characteristics of the spiritual path; I can feel this level of meaning, but I am not sufficiently knowledgable in that area to really explain them fully. However, it is quite clear that the overall scheme of the book has a meaning.
Scheherazade was a beautiful young woman of high status, living in a kingdom where the women had met a great misfortune. The king was betrayed by one of his mistresses, so he took the habit of recruiting a new mistress every night, whom he would slay in the morning to make sure he was not again betrayed. Scheherazade told her family, to their great dismay, that she was going to volunteer for this duty. The stories are the ones she used to engage the interest of the king, so that his curiosity was so great he would delay killing her for at least one more night.
The first stories portray people of the absolute meanest and most crude nature, full of lust, violence, selfishness, suspicion, and a very low nature.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Adventure July 28 2006
I almost feel as though I'm piling on - another 5* review for Arabian Nights. But the book offers two specific marvels that I have never encountered in quite the same way.

First, the structure of the book, with elegantly nested plots, and cliffhanger chapters which make it clear why the king could not bear to lose Sheherezade before the tale could end.

Second, a set of twists and turns that may in fact be standard for persian/arabian texts, but were new and fresh for someone more used to the western canon. Wow.

I'm certain that any reader will find great joy in the Arabian Nights.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best version of the "Nights" -- hands down! Oct. 21 2002
I have loved the Arabian Nights since I was a kid. But its fame as a "children's book" has often been a disadvantage -- most editions are simplified, hobbled and sanitized. The unedited versions geared more for adults are a hundred years old, and often show their age. Burton, for example, is an impressive edition but the language is almost a parody of High Victorian English. This edition by Haddawy is almost as perfect as it could possibly be. First, the introduction is wonderful and definately worth reading on its own -- how many times can you say *that* about a book? It sets the stage for understanding the work, the problems in translating it, and the world the Nights came from. It is clearly, smoothly written. These strengths are carried over to the main text as well. The writing is so direct, modern, vivid, and thrilling! It effortlessly takes you into this vanished world of danger, love, magic and adventure. Many expressions are modernized, such as "demon" for "genie" or "God" for "Allah," which work well, although I wouldn't have minded the the more "romantic" terms. Haddawy explains his choice of stories... the full original text only contains about 300 nights worth of tales. Most of the famous stories were added later (Aladdin, Sindbad, etc.) in response to greater interest in the work. Readers looking for these stories should check out Haddawy's companion volume, "Arabian Nights II," which has these famous stories and shares almost all the virtues of this volume. Finally, these books are wonderfully put together: great paper, type, binding... very satisfying just as a physical form. For those who loved these stories, or anyone with a sense of adventure, buy this! Buy it now!
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5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing and entertaining book April 5 2004
"'What an amazing and entertaining story!' said Dinarzad, the sister of queen Shahrazad. And she would reply, 'What is this compared with what I shall tell you tomorrow night if I stay alive.'" This dialogue ends every night of "the nights" and makes us all to wander and expect what will happen the next night. While anticipating the next night, the readers' hearts and minds goes ups and downs with the book. The Stories of "The Arabian Nights", or "The One Thousand and One Nights," are very entertaining and strange. It makes you turn those pages to find out what will happen and you will discover those stories (and stories within the stories within the stories within the stories), you never dreamed of, which made you finish the book fast and delighted.
Although I expected to read the story like "the story of Sindbad," and "the story of Aladdin and the Magic Lamp," which are explained by the introduction, is later addition to fulfill the name of the "one thousand" nights, I really enjoy this translation of the oldest version of the Nights. The translator, Husain Haddawy, even made this book more familiar to us. He changes "Allah" to "God," and such. This book about four hundred more pages will bring you a lot fun time while you read it. I highly recommend you to read this version of "The Arabian Nights."
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very fun read
I was exposed to this book in college, and years later I remembered about it and decided to buy it. It is such a fun read, and I would definitely recommend it. Read more
Published on July 17 2012 by Kevin
4.0 out of 5 stars Great storytelling..
This translation is the best by far. The stories are interesting and authentic, very well told. The book itself is a unique concept and I believe a must read for anyone who loves... Read more
Published on Aug. 9 2009 by Natasha Sniatowsky
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent translation
I highly recommend this new translation of the Arabian Nights. Previous translators have sought to colorize or edit the tales, but here the translator sought to stay true to the... Read more
Published on Jan. 23 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Shahrazad would like it....
Haddawy's translation is amazing. His straightforward approach--unlike Burton's, or probably any other English translation--shows in contrast what was missing from earlier... Read more
Published on Jan. 21 2004 by C. Gardner
4.0 out of 5 stars Arabian Nights: The Thousand and One Nights
This is a book about a woman named Shahrazade who every night sits with her husband and sister and tells stories to distract her husband not killing her. Read more
Published on Dec 8 2003 by Lamia Samad
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging
Feigned as innocent and child-friendly by Disney, the book is a complete antipode of what it is has come to be popularly believed. Read more
Published on Sept. 2 2003 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Edition
This translation by far has been my favorite. Muhsin Mahdi did an a terrific job of translating the old text. Read more
Published on June 9 2002 by Stephanie Manley
5.0 out of 5 stars So much more than I expected! Accept no other translation!
I really had no idea how much I would enjoy this! I came to it with some vague recollections of some of the tales as they had been adapted into children's stories, but I soon... Read more
Published on April 20 2002 by dltstl
5.0 out of 5 stars The Arabian Nights
This is by far the best edition of the Arabian Nights in English. The stories presented here are very different from what one would expect after hearing the fairytales previously... Read more
Published on Aug. 25 2001 by victor soare
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