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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly one of the best collections I've ever read!
I decided to read this as I am going to Egypt and it was recommended to me. Of course I'd heard the more famous stories such as Aladdin and Sinbad when I was younger, but little did I know what was in store for me as I read a broader selection of these tales! This is a great edition, and you can easily imagine many of the cruder tales being regaled around a campfire long...
Published on 4 July 2005 by swirlydreamer

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A very influential book
catching up on the classics. This is a very decent read and you can see how the stories have had a powerful impact on Western fiction, especially movies. They give voice to a multicultural view of life in Muslim history where Jews and Christians and Muslims intermingled. Far from the strict lifestyle this is a very naughty book, with plenty of booze, hot babes up to no...
Published 22 days ago by P. G. Foxe


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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly one of the best collections I've ever read!, 4 July 2005
This review is from: Tales from the Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights) (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
I decided to read this as I am going to Egypt and it was recommended to me. Of course I'd heard the more famous stories such as Aladdin and Sinbad when I was younger, but little did I know what was in store for me as I read a broader selection of these tales! This is a great edition, and you can easily imagine many of the cruder tales being regaled around a campfire long ago. Many of the stories really appealed to the little girl in me, with wonderful stories of magic and genies (or jinns!) and romance. I would definitely recommend this, as it's a selection and you can read these before deciding whether you want to pursue them and go for the full hog. As I've also read The Canterbury Tales and Boccaccio's Decameron, it was easy to see parallels and you can certainly see where much of the later great writers drew their inspiration from. Please read this book, it really is one of those that can be enjoyed by anyone of any age!
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb translat. of the stories, read by entrancing readers, 6 Feb 1999
By A Customer
Not all translations of 1001 Nights are alike; this translation by NJ Dawood is fresh, funny, and true to the medieval Islamic culture. What's more, the stories are as enchanting to children (8 and up) as they are to adults. Jinns, sorcerers, caliphs, and crafty mothers are in this translation as they are in others, but here they are firmly tied to everyday life -- they might be your neighbors, if your neighbors lived in an enchanted ring or lamp. Realistic and bawdy, serious and fantastic, this is the version I like best.
This audiocassette publication, read by Souad Faress and Raad Rawi, is one of the best books on tape I own. The rythms of the Middle East compliment the stories in a way no library reader has ever done before. Even though the base translation is abridged, the six hours of stories will keep you entranced. My son and I did a 200-mile each way trip with this book as our entertainment, and were sorry when the last tape finally ended.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There was once a poor tailor ..., 8 Sep 2006
This review is from: Tales from the Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights) (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Brilliant book. The tales themselves are funny, magical, colourful, earthy, violent and very very colourful. They reveal a lot about the imagination and obsessions of medieval middle eastern society, and human society generally - poverty, work, the wheel of fortune, crime and punishment,truth and lies, god and the devil. Above all they are masterpieces in the art of great story-telling, with all sorts of little twists and turns of plot, narratives within narratives, comic devices, pastiche characters.The translation is superb in its clarity, consistency and stylistic appropriateness. Don't delay - go and educate yourself in one of the foundations of all storytelling and literature.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic done alive by an amazing translation, 6 May 2011
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A. Khan (Milton Keynes) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tales from the Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights) (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
I had several options/versions of 1001 Arabian nights but I chose this specific one because of the translator Mr. Dawood. He has an excellent command on the native and the translated to language and he has done another great job in rendering this Arabic classical for us the English readers. Fully recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars tales from the thousand and one nights (arabian nights), 20 May 2011
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This review is from: Tales from the Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights) (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
i have always heard about this book but never took any notice until i saw a tv programme on the book about 3 weeks ago. it sounded like such an interesting and humourous book, i decided to get a copy.

it is so cleverly written with many short imaginative stories which roll
into another, it is very difficult to put it down as when you finish one
tale, you want to continue to the other.

i would highly recommend buying it and having a read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A very influential book, 19 Jun 2014
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P. G. Foxe "Gan Ainm" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tales from the Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights) (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
catching up on the classics. This is a very decent read and you can see how the stories have had a powerful impact on Western fiction, especially movies. They give voice to a multicultural view of life in Muslim history where Jews and Christians and Muslims intermingled. Far from the strict lifestyle this is a very naughty book, with plenty of booze, hot babes up to no good, slavery, and man generally cruel and exploitative of his 'brother' It is dreamlike in places with the black humour of say 'Fargo' but revealing that everywhere civilisation is paper thin, and the rich and powerful do as they please.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest Story Book Ever?, 10 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Tales from the Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights) (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Of the 300 books I've read so far, this has got to be one of my top 5! I love the legendary stories which include Aladdin and Sindbad the Sailor-this I love the most! And the person who translated has done such a great job that it proved, to me at least, to be a wonderful and easy-going book. So be part of the story, be part of the 1001 nights!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great!, 9 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Tales from the Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights) (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Bought as a gift and they have not put it down since giving it to them! Will definitely buy more books like this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thousand & One nights, 5 Aug 2011
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I. Warburton (Cambridge, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tales from the Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights) (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Book arrived promptly. Was a decent read, and you could imagine people regaling fellow travellers in the desert with these bawdy tales. Quite coarse behaviour by well known characters and very different from the childrens tales / panto's we all grew up with as kids.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic in literary history, 26 April 2011
This review is from: Tales from the Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights) (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
When I got the pick of my mother's books when she needed to get rid of them as she was emigrating, the reason I picked Tales from the Thousand and One Nights was twofold. First of all I was of the opinion that I ought to have read at least part of one of the great, classical literary influences, both on the literature I studied at university and on my beloved speculative genre. Second of all, I had bought Anthony O'Neill's Scheherazade, a retelling of the story of Scheherazade, a few months earlier and never really got past the first twenty pages and I thought reading some of the original The Thousand and One Nights might help me get into the book more. Of course, this was almost ten years ago and both books have remained unread until now.

The Thousand and One Nights are a collection of folk tales that found their current form in the early nineteenth century. Their first introduction into the West, however, was as early as 1707 when the French Orientalist Antoine Galland. He encountered the stories on his voyages in the East and brought them back and translated them into French. He wasn't just a translator though, as I learned from the BBC4 program Secrets of the Arabian Nights, which serendipitously aired just as I'd started reading the book. Galland also adapted some stories, which he'd heard being told during his travels, to satisfy the rising demand for more Arabian Nights tales. After their introduction to the West, The Thousand and One Nights went through Europe like a wildfire, being in high demand in upper class drawing rooms. And while they have gone through many incarnations, being bowdlerised by the Victorians and turned into children's stories by them as well, they have never disappeared into oblivion and have remained popular to this day.

The Thousand and One Nights contain strong themes of compassion, charity, loyalty and forgiveness. As illustrated by The Tale of Judar and his Brothers, where Judar keeps forgiving his brothers and providing for them, regardless of all their greed and scheming. Another strong theme connected to loyalty is the importance of familial relations. It is paramount to care for your family, not just your immediate family, but your extended family as well. And people cast each other in familial roles, even if strangers, as we see in the case of Sindbad the Sailor and Sindbad the Porter, where the former is rescued on his last journey by an old man, who makes him his son and heir by marrying him to his daughter. Familial relations can also be used to deceive, as illustrated by the Moor in Aladdin and the Enchanted Lamp, who pretends to be his long lost uncle so he'll help him recover the lamp.

Women are either Mary's or Eves, though in some cases they may represent both, such as the three girls from The Porter and the Three Girls of Baghdad. These seem to be largely temptresses in their treatment of the porter, but when they later tell their stories to the Caliph they turn out to be victims of circumstance as well. This ambivalent view of the feminine seems to to move from harlots to housewives during the telling of the Tales by Scheherazade, as she wanted to show that not all women were faithless and treacherous and to convince her Sultan to let her live, or at least that is what the BBC show claimed. From the small selection of tales in this book, it is hard to distil this development.

The stories aren't just fantastical in a speculative sense, but in a literal sense as well. The stories aren't very logical, not even within the context of the stories. They are, however, very entertaining, ranging from morality tales, such as the Fable of the Donkey, the Ox, and the Farmer, to out and out farce, such as The Historic Fart. Yet these stories favour the rogues and ne'er-do-wells; being good and virtuous doesn't always equal being rewarded, as illustrated by The Tale of Judar and his Brothers, where the forgiving and loyal Judar ends up being killed by his avaricious brothers. In this case fortune really does favour the brave, as shown by The Tale of Ma'aruf the Cobbler, where Ma'aruf's outrageous lies become the truth and all's well that ends well, much to Ma'aruf's frind Ali's dismay.

Much of (Middle) Eastern based fantasy draws on The Thousand and One Nights. In some cases more directly than others, such as Howard Andrew Jones' The Desert of Souls, which is as the author himself says (to paraphrase) Sherlock Holmes meets Arabian Nights meets Sinbad crossed with Indiana Jones. Others are less obvious, but the story-within-a-story model such as used in Patrick Rothfuss' The Kingkiller Chronicles, is the basis for The Thousand and One Nights. This model can even get very confusing as the nesting becomes Matruschka-like in proportions and it can get difficult to keep straight at which level the story is placed. One thing that I found striking, was the fact that the jinn in these stories aren't half as treacherous as they are often portrayed. The only malicious jinn is the one from the The Fisherman and the Jinnee, the rest of the jinn in this selection of stories, is nothing more than magical, wishful-filling slaves.

Tales from The Thousand and One Nights was a very entertaining collection of tales taken from The Thousand and One Nights. These stories still need to be read, both because they are a classic in literary history and because they have such a profound influence on much of the Middle-Eastern inspired cultures in the speculative genre. But most importantly, these stories deserve to be read for themselves, as they are fun, adventurous and give a peek at a culture that is both exotic and fascinating.
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