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    Default Arabian Nights Deluxe Box Set

    A while ago I lamentably posted this:

    Quote Originally Posted by pablo View Post
    I like lavish reprints and new translation of classics, so it was with great excitement that I found out about Penguin's new three-volume hardcover complete Arabian Nights set. Then I saw it was published in 2008 and is already out of print. Moreover, I was astonished to see it selling for $2,000 used. Supposedly the original price was around $200. There are cheap paperbacks, but after seeing what the hardcover set looks like no one would want those.



    http://www.amazon.com/dp/0140911669/

    Just by accident I discovered Penguin has just reprinted the set last month! Placed my order with excitedly shaking hands. The old set is out of print, so there's a new ISBN: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0141198273/


  2. #2
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    Two questions one related and one not: Are these the Burton translations? And are you the same pablo as on the sffchronicles site?
    The Awesomest fled across the desert and The Awesomer followed.

    If you rescue me
    I’ll be your friend forever


    I wish that I could write fiction, but that seems almost an impossibility. -howard phillips lovecraft (1915)



  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brice View Post
    Are these the Burton translations?
    Nope, brand new:

    The acclaimed new translation of one of the best-known and most influential classics of world literature-available in a deluxe hardcover boxed set designed by Coralie Bickford Smith.

    From Ali Baba and the forty thieves to the voyages of Sinbad, the stories of The Arabian Nights are timeless and unforgettable. Published here in their entirety in a splendid three-volume hardcover set, this critically acclaimed edition brings these classic tales to life for modern readers. It also includes new translations from the eighteenth-century French of the so-called "orphan stories," for which no original Arabic text remains.

  4. #4
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    Here's a nice article back from when this was originally published in 2008.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/book...n-nights-islam
    A new translation of The Arabian Nights, published this week, offers a definitive version, shorn of the confusing conflations which have dogged it since its transcription from oral tradition in ninth century Abbasid Baghdad.

    Born and bred in Turkey, I grew up with these stories. Their tales of people facing adversity, particularly those on the margins of society, laced my mother's milk, elevated to heroes those who never doubted that somewhere, some sage, would discover the magical vessel that would transform life into Seventh Heaven.

    Now, eagerly reacquainting myself with these fables, I feel compelled to speed up my journey as a writer. Benign exile can spawn complacency. Old age, with eyes at the back of its head in trepidation for children's future, has no time for philosophical questioning of the meanings of existence. Those meanings, whether rooted in necessity or chance or God, have long been hijacked by the overlords of politics, war, religion and economics. It is their armoured policies that must be defied, even if such defiance perishes in the wilderness.

    Although The Arabian Nights became widely known in Europe after the Crusades and inspired countless artists and writers (from Chaucer to Dickens to Rushdie in Britain), Sir Richard Burton's translation in the late-19th century brought it a new level of popularity on these shores, not least because it was purported to expose the vagaries of the Muslim mentality and Arab way of life. Perhaps these injudicious perceptions, callusing over time, even laid the foundations for present-day Islamophobia.

    The Arabian Nights is that magical mirror that reflects Islam's genius, its vast cultural scale and its incalculable contribution to the arts and sciences. The tales celebrate life and the blessings it offers. Praising love, joy, courage, defiance, compassion, they negate the teachings of such death-worshippers as Khomeini, Al-Qaida, Taliban et al. For those wondering where the true voice of Islam is, be assured it is here in these 1,001 tales.

    But what of the brutality they contain? What about their obsession with death?

    True, Death, "the destroyer of delights", is forever on the prowl. Indeed, even before Shahrazad, the teller of these tales, utters a word, it has claimed 3,000 virgins - all deflowered and executed, at the rate of one each day, by Sultan Shahryar, as punishment on womanhood for his wife's infidelity. However, when Shahrazad volunteers to be Shahryar's next victim, her intention is to defy Death, not to surrender to it meekly. And as she secures her daily reprieve with a fresh story, she denounces summary brutality and exalts the sanctity of life. Eluding Death is The Arabian Nights' raison-d'être.

    These tales, however, present a disturbing aspect to the modern reader. Women in The Arabian Nights are often conniving and voraciously adulterous. We might wish to imagine Shahrazad's misrepresentation of women as facetious, but it is impossible to escape the fact that the original bards were invariably men.

    Convinced that gender defamation conflicts with the tales' ethos, I can only interpret the misogyny as a projection from our patriarchal societies. "There's not a moment in the male mind that's not tumescent with sex", says an Arab adage. The creators of The Arabian Nights assumed that female minds possess the same trait, an assumption shared with the creators and enforcers of those implacable monotheisms Judaism, Christianity and Islam in their struggle to unsex women and commandeer their rights.

    Though more than a millennium separates Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon from Abbasid Bagdad, they offer a germane spirit. When the Babylonians started building the Tower of Babel, an edifice designed to reach the Heavens and glorify humankind, God perceived this as a challenge to His authority; consequently, He decided to confuse them by making them speak in different tongues. Seen in the Bible as a calamity, this, in fact, proved a blessing. The different tongues unleashed our diversity - a diversity so strikingly reflected in The Arabian Nights - and delivered us from a monolithic culture which, unable to have intercourse with other cultures, would have otherwise condemned us to onanistic existence. This diversity of society also gave voice and stature to women, the perennial non-persons of our religions, just as The Arabian Nights gives voice to Shahrazad.

    Oh, for more Towers of Babel bubbling with unbound women! That will stop the overlords from warring!
    And a newer one talking more about the translation itself.

    http://www.todayszaman.com/news-2113...an-nights.html
    The “One Thousand and One Nights,” the classic folk tales that date from the Golden Age of Islam and still stand among the masterpieces of Middle Eastern literature, were reborn in English with a brand new translation in late 2008.

    The paperback version of the three-volume “The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1001 Nights,” translated by Malcolm C. Lyons, was published earlier this year by Penguin Books. Lyons’ work is the first direct translation into English since Richard Burton’s 19th century version.

    Author-editor Robert Irwin, who wrote the introductions to all three volumes in the new version, speaks about “The Arabian Nights” in an interview with Today’s Zaman.

    In his note on the text, the translator Malcolm C. Lyons thanks you and defines you as “the protagonist of this project.” What is the story behind this massive translation project?

    Originally, about 15 years ago, another publisher sought my advice about which translation of the Arabian Nights they should publish. They came to me because I had already published “The Arabian Nights: A Companion.” I pointed out the inadequacies of all previous translations of the Nights and suggested that they commission a complete new translation of the main corpus of the Nights. However, after some initial excitement, the project lapsed. Some years passed. Then I was contacted again by the same editor, Hilary Laurie, but this time she was working for Penguin Classics. This time the project went ahead. I found an outstanding translator, Malcolm Lyons, the retired Thomas Adams Professor of Arabic at Cambridge. We agreed that the translation should be based on Calcutta II, an Arabic text printed in India in the early 19th century, for it was the most compendious version. Lyons, who reads Arabic faster than I read English, translated this enormous text with astonishing speed and fluency in the odd moments when he was not playing golf. It has been a long haul, but immensely worthwhile.

    What is the significance of this new and complete translation?

    The previous translations are utterly unsatisfactory. Edward William Lane’s 1838-41 was highly selective, bowdlerized and written in a mock biblical prose, as well as being overladen with notes. Sir Richard Burton’s, 1885-8, was error-strewn, sexist, racist, imperialist and, above all, composed in a bizarre English, which drew on medieval, Tudor and Jacobean vocabulary, as well as Victorian slang. Also he liked to invert the word order to make the text look archaic. It verges on the unreadable. Indeed it is sometimes worse than verging on the unreadable. Because these translations were so bad, the popularity of the Nights actually declined in the course of the 19th century. A scholarly translation into good English was a stark necessity. I am very proud of having engineered such a thing.

    Why did English readers have to wait for more than a century after Richard Burton’s translation for a new one?

    A retranslation is a very big job. It needed to be done by a first-rate academic, but one with no teaching or organizational commitments. Burton had believed that it was his duty to make the text seem strange and barbarous. This was both mistaken and patronizing. The Arabs were capable of writing better prose and poetry than Burton was.

    Your work “For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and Their Enemies” has been translated into Turkish, and Turkish readers are acquainted with your criticism of Edward Said’s “Orientalism.” Do you agree with scholars who argue that “The Arabian Nights” has mostly been used for constructing a negative image of the East?

    What would be the evidence for this? Who would be the guilty writers? When one reads Addison, or Dickens or Stendhal, it is evident that they loved The Arabian Nights, but it is also evident that they were not much interested in the real Middle East, still less in stereotyping it or insulting it. It is not easy to see how exactly “Aladdin” or “Sinbad” can be used to construct a negative image of the East. By the way, there is hardly any mysticism at all in the “Nights.”

    In the Introduction to Volume 3 you mention the names of Western writers who are influenced by “The Arabian Nights,” from Chaucer to Borges and Calvino. Do you think this influence is underrated?

    I have written at greater length on the literary influence of the Nights in my Companion, mentioned above. I am certain that from the early 18th century onwards, the Nights exercised a greater influence on Western literature than any other book, the Bible excepted. Its influence on fantasy is obvious. What is less obvious is that in the 18th century the “Nights” exercised a crucial influence on the origins and development of the realistic novel in Britain and France.

    Can this new translation provide a fresh look into Middle Eastern or Islamic literature for common readers?

    I hope that most readers will read the stories for pleasure, for their literary and imaginative qualities. These stories should not be used as a primer on Middle Eastern realities.

    You describe “The Nights” as “one of the most inspiring sourcebooks of literature ever created.” What is its “most inspiring” feature?

    There is no single answer to this. In the 18th century moralists and satirists were inspired by the morals and satires of the stories. In the 19th century, adventure, mystery and opulence became more important. In the 20th century writers like Borges and Calvino have rediscovered the Nights as a modernist text or a box full of literary tricks.

    You are an expert on the history of Orientalist studies. Can we consider the recent works, like this translation, as a sign of a new period in Orientalist studies?

    Certainly “Arabian Nights” studies now thrives. There is now an “Arabian Nights Encyclopedia” and there are several conferences every year on the subject. You recently had one in Turkey. More generally, publishers in the West are hungry for expert books on almost all aspects of Islam and the Middle East. There are other big translation projects in hand -- for example, the translation of Evliya Çelebi.
    Plus a very thorough overview of the history of English translation of the Arabian Nights, including the 2008 version.

    http://mairangibay.blogspot.com/2008...an-nights.html
    Malcolm & Ursula Lyons, 3 vols (2008)

    The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1001 Nights. Introduction by Robert Irwin. 3 vols. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2008.


    Which brings us full circle back to Malcolm Lyons. After Hadawy had completed his task of presenting Muhsin Mahdi's "purified" text of the Nights, the only job left was to provide a full and faithful picture of the true nature and contents of the Egyptian ms. tradition, Z.E.R.

    I suppose my initial impression of his translation is just how bald Lyons' prose sounds beside the florid zaniness of Burton. What struck me most, though, was how beautifully simple the verses now appeared. There's a great deal of poetry in the Nights, most of it of a rather banal nature, but Lyons has done a splendid job of decoding it for the reader. Payne was certainly a better versifier than Burton, but both felt compelled to try and reproduce the strict forms of Arabic versification. Lyons has dispensed with all that, and the result is charming as well as being far easier to read.

    The translation is so far only available in a deluxe hardback edition, limited to 3,000 copies, but it will be coming out in full next year as a Penguin Classic. For the moment, though, the only readily available text is the following sampler, available (at a very reasonable price) from Amazon.uk.

    To sum up, then, if you want to understand the true nature of the Nights themselves, Lyons and Haddawy together give as complete a picture as most of us would ever need of the two major textual traditions.

    If your interest is more in the influence of the Nights on European literature, Galland and Burton are the crucial versions, each more of an addition to the literature of their own country than a faithful mirror of the text they were purporting to translate.

    The Lane and Mardrus-Mathers translations are each, in their way, very beautiful books - Lane more for his illustrations than his text, Mathers for the crisp conciseness of his prose, and the elegance of his verses.

    We're left with Payne, still unjustly overshadowed by Burton. In a way, though, since he did a good deal of the translation work with which the latter is unjustly credited, I guess he could be said to be as much the architect of those 16 eccentric volumes as Burton himself. His translation remains a curiosity of literature, but his status as the first European scholar to provide a full and unvarnished picture of the whole of Z.E.R. cannot be taken away.

    There are (of course) other translations and versions, each with their charms. The earlier Penguin translation of selections from Bulaq by N. J. Dawood is still very readable (it's perhaps best sampled as a talking book, beautifully read by Souad Faress and Raad Rawi). Henry Torrens (1839) and A. J. Arberry (1955) each began complete translations which were abandoned after a single volume. Both remain magnificent fragments.

    The story will no doubt continue. For the moment, though, my Christmas plans include a good deal of lying around exploring the intricacies and arabesques of Lyons' Nights.

  5. #5
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    Then i may need these at least to supplement my burton editions.
    The Awesomest fled across the desert and The Awesomer followed.

    If you rescue me
    I’ll be your friend forever


    I wish that I could write fiction, but that seems almost an impossibility. -howard phillips lovecraft (1915)



  6. #6
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    Sounds as if Burton is unreadable and a very loose translation. I'm always excited about new translations of classics like the great new translation of Don Quixote a couple years back.

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    That would be an exaggeration at the very least. I've read and enjoyed the burton text for years and have had no problems understanding it. Still it would be nice to compare the two. Even if the burton is inaccurate i love it. They are beautiful editions.
    The Awesomest fled across the desert and The Awesomer followed.

    If you rescue me
    I’ll be your friend forever


    I wish that I could write fiction, but that seems almost an impossibility. -howard phillips lovecraft (1915)



  8. #8
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    Never read any, only a handful stories here and there. Very eagerly awaiting this new set.

  9. #9
    Roont Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice's Avatar

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    I'm thinking of getting it, but i'm not sure i want to spend over a hundred for a book i already have.
    The Awesomest fled across the desert and The Awesomer followed.

    If you rescue me
    I’ll be your friend forever


    I wish that I could write fiction, but that seems almost an impossibility. -howard phillips lovecraft (1915)



  10. #10
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    That's understandable. I don't have any and wanted this beautifully-designed set for a while so to me it's a no brainer. It also has scholarly introductions and notes plus an entirely new and complete translation, so I think it should be worth picking up even if you already have a version. Brice, can you post a link to look at yours?

  11. #11
    Roont Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice's Avatar

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    I'll see if i can find it or find my pics i've already posted a little later.
    The Awesomest fled across the desert and The Awesomer followed.

    If you rescue me
    I’ll be your friend forever


    I wish that I could write fiction, but that seems almost an impossibility. -howard phillips lovecraft (1915)



  12. #12
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    My shipment from Amazon arrived today with this boxed set. It is beautiful (and heavy!). High-quality stuff. Will start digging into it tonight.

  13. #13
    Roont Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice's Avatar

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    Awesome!
    The Awesomest fled across the desert and The Awesomer followed.

    If you rescue me
    I’ll be your friend forever


    I wish that I could write fiction, but that seems almost an impossibility. -howard phillips lovecraft (1915)



  14. #14
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    Holy fuck, just saw that this set is being sold on Amazon for $6-8K: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0141198273/ And looks like it went up as high as around $12K: http://camelcamelcamel.com/product/0141198273 That's just insane! I paid $123.25 for mine. That's approximately a 10,000% increase if my math is right

  15. #15
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    I'm just seeing this now.

    It takes a lot for my admiration to reach the point of jealousy, but Jesus, Mae - between this set and the Richard Evans Third Reich trilogy, you have earned my book jealousy, big time.

    (These are the translations I had my eye on, and the set is beautiful).
    I hired Donald Trump to fire people like Yovanovitch.

  16. #16
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    It's one of my prized possessions for sure, one of the most beautiful books I own. But then again I'm not much of a collector. It's just such a unique production. Sadly, I'm currently on the move between places, so all of my books are in inaccessible storage and I'm hoping to god nothing happens to them.

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