Download The Arabian Nights by Anonymous, Amabel Williams-Ellis


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Categories: Classics
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Original Title: One Thousand and One Nights
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These stories (& stories within stories, & stories within stories within stories), told by the Princess Shahrazad under the threat of death if she ceases to amuse, reached the West around 1700. They fired in the European imagination an appetite for the mysterious & exotic which has never left it. Collected over centuries from India, Persia & Arabia, ranging These stories (& stories within stories, & stories within stories within stories), told by the Princess Shahrazad under the threat of death if she ceases to amuse, reached the West around 1700. They fired in the European imagination an appetite for the mysterious & exotic which has never left it. Collected over centuries from India, Persia & Arabia, ranging from vivacious erotica, animal fables & adventure fantasies to pointed Sufi tales, the stories of The Arabian Nights provided the daily entertainment of the medieval Islamic world at the height of its glory. The original concept is most likely derived from a pre-Islamic Persian prototype that probably relied partly on Indian elements, but the work as we have it was collected over many centuries by various authors, translators & scholars across the Middle East & N. Africa. The tales themselves trace their roots back to ancient & medieval Arabic, Persian, Indian, Egyptian & Mesopotamian folklore & literature. In particular, many tales were originally folk stories from the Caliphate era, while others, especially the frame story, are most probably drawn from the Pahlavi Persian work Hazār Afsān. Tho the oldest Arabic manuscript dates from the 14th century, scholarship generally dates the collection's genesis to around the 9th century. Some of the best-known stories of The Nights, particularly "Aladdin's Wonderful Lamp", "Ali Baba & the 40 Thieves" & "The 7 Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor", while almost certainly genuine Middle-Eastern folk tales, were not part of The Nights in Arabic versions, but were interpolated into the collection by its early European translators.
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