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Tales from the Thousand and One Nights (Penguin Classics) Paperback – August 30, 1973


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 18 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Revised edition (August 30, 1973)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140442898
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140442892
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Arabic (translation)

About the Author

N.J Dawood has translated a number of texts for Penguin Classics, including The Koran.

Customer Reviews

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See all 19 customer reviews
These tales in their original form are timeless!
TBrien
Any child would enjoy these stories, and any adult will find them simply relaxing and a reflection of medieval Islam.
Betti Trapp
This repetition made it easier to memorize the stories, or at least the basic outline.
Jeffrey Leach

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on June 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is a selection of the choicest tales from the Thousand and One Nights. The translator, N.J. Dawood, also translated the Koran for the Penguin Classics series. Dawood explains in the introduction that the first of these tales appeared in a written form around 850 C.E., in a book called, "A Thousand Legends." More tales, of lesser quality, were added over the years until an anonymous editor in Cairo finally codified them in the 18th century. A French version of some of the stories appeared in the 17th century, and was followed by several English versions in the 19th century; the best known adaptation came from Sir Richard Burton, in 10 volumes. The stories are a mix of Arabic, Persian, and Indian tales and appear to have been written in response to classical Arabic literature. The Arabs do not consider them part of the classic canon, and after reading these stories, I can see why. They are aggressive and highly sexualized, and are loaded with sorcery, fantasy, and criticism of authority figures.
Whatever their origins and means of transmission, these are excellent and entertaining stories. I cannot think of one tale in this selection that I did not like. Included in the book is the instantly recognizable Aladdin story, as well as the Sinbad voyages. Other tales are just as interesting: "The Tale of the Hunchback," "The Tale of Judar and his Brothers," "The Porter and the Three Girls of Baghdad," and many others. Many of these stories are cycles; they have stories within stories, as characters in one story tell their own stories. At the end of the cycle, the story is cleverly wrapped up, usually with a happy ending. I do not think I need to go into detail about Aladdin or Sinbad, except to say that I was surprised to see Aladdin described as Chinese.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 6, 1999
Format: Audio CD
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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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Betti Trapp on March 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is translated by a person named N.J. Darwood. It's simply wonderful. The tales involved are tales of the Persian Gulf, of Bagdhad, Arabia, and tales that we as adults should revisit for some enjoyable light reading that will make us smile and wonder at the old folklore of the Arabian Peninsula. Sinbad the Sailor is in there, as is Aladdin in it's original form, and the story begins of a king who is so upset by his wife's unfaithfulness that he will now only accept virgins for one night and then have them killed. A smart virgin begins her night with the infamous king by telling him stories, and she so fascinates him and enthralls him with her tales that the tales turn into folklore for readers of the ages. I won't tell you what happens in the end to the virgin princess, but you will find humor, enchantment, wisdom and fantasy for those times when stress becomes a factor in your life. I highly recommend the tale of "The Historic Fart" as a both funny and inspiring tale of human nature. Please buy this book and remember to become a nine -12 year old again as you read with curiosity and wonder at the fabulous enchanting, lively stories. I was beginning to wish my children were a bit younger so I could read these to them. Any child would enjoy these stories, and any adult will find them simply relaxing and a reflection of medieval Islam.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Priscilla Rodriguez on April 28, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a great book. These stories are extremely old from places such as Persia and India with a mostly arabic influence. The introduction gives great historical insight about the various tales. Of all the translated versions of these classic stories, and what was probably much more complicated original prose, I find Mr Dawood's translations simple and fun to read. The stories are rich with adventure and fantasy. Mr Dawood does an excellent job of keeping the stories down-to-earth and entertaining. Those who enjoy cryptic, esoteric literature will enjoy losing themselves in the intertwining stories of this book. With a simplistic style of story-telling, it is still intricate enough to keep one immersed. Those who already enjoy simple stories will be intrigued by the unique storylines and plots. For young, impressionable readers, the tales have no religious overtones or underlying political agenda and women are revered and respected. I first read this book when I was 12, and continue to enjoy and re-read the stories well into adulthood.
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