One Thousand and One Nights

Queen Scheherazade tells her stories to King Shahryar.


One Thousand and One Nights (Arabic: كتاب ألف ليلة وليلة Kitāb 'Alf Laylah wa-Laylah, Persian: هزار و یک شب Hazār-o Yak Šab, Turkish: Binbir Gece Masalları, Urdu: ایک اور ہزار راتین ولی کتب Hazar Aur Eik Ratein Wahli Kitab, Hebrew:סיפורי אלף לילה ולילהsipurey elef layla va-layla), also known as The Book of a Thousand Nights and a Night, 1001 Arabian Nights, Arabian Nights, The Arabian Nights Entertainments, The Nightly Entertainments or simply The Nights, is a collection of stories collected over thousands of years by various authors, translators and scholars. These collections of tales trace their roots back to ancient India, ancient Persia (especially the Sassanian Hazār Afsān, Persian: סיפורי אלף לילה ולילה lit. Thousand Tales), ancient Egypt, ancient Mesopotamian Mythology and medieval Arabic folk stories from the Caliphate era. Though an original manuscript has never been found several versions date the collection's genesis to somewhere between AD 800-900.

What is common throughout all the editions of The Nights is the initial frame story of the ruler Shahryar (Persian: סיפורי אלף לילה ולילה) and his wife Scheherazade (Persian: סיפורי אלף לילה ולילה) and the framing device incorporated throughout the tales themselves. The stories proceed from this original tale; some are framed within other tales, while others begin and end of their own accord. Some editions contain only a few hundred tales, while others include 1001 or more stories and "nights."

Well known stories from The Nights include "Aladdin," "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves," and "The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor."

Synopsis

See also:  and


The main frame story concerns a Persian king and his new bride. The king, Shahryar, upon discovering his former wife's infidelity had her executed and then declared all women to be unfaithful. He begins to marry a succession of virgins only to execute each one the next morning. Eventually the vizier cannot find any more virgins. Scheherazade, the vizier's daughter, offers herself as the next bride and her father reluctantly agrees. On the night of their marriage, Scheherazade tells the king a tale, but does not end it. The king is thus forced to keep her alive in order to hear the conclusion. The next night, as soon as she finishes the tale, she begins (and only begins) another. So it went for 1,001 nights.

The tales vary widely: they include historical tales, love stories, tragedies, comedies, poems, burlesques and Muslim religious legends. Some of the famous stories Scheherazade spins in many Western translations are "Aladdin's Lamp," "Sinbad the Sailor," and the tale of "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves"
Enlarge picture
"The Sultan Pardons Scheherazade", by Arthur Boyd Houghton (1836-1875)
Numerous stories depict djinn, magicians, and legendary places, which are often intermingled with real people and geography; the historical caliph Harun al-Rashid is a common protagonist, as are his alleged court poet Abu Nuwas and his vizier, Ja'far al-Barmaki. Sometimes a character in Scheherazade's tale will begin telling other characters a story of his own, and that story may have another one told within it, resulting in a richly-layered narrative texture.

The different versions have different individually detailed endings (in some Scheherazade asks for a pardon, in some the king sees their children and decides not to execute his wife, in some other things happen that make the king distracted) but they all end with the king giving his wife a pardon and sparing her life.

The narrator's standards for what constitutes a cliffhanger seem broader than in modern literature. While in many cases a story is cut off with the hero in danger of losing his life or another kind of deep trouble, in some parts of the full text Scheherazade stops her narration in the middle of an exposition of abstract philosophical principles or complex points of Islamic philosophy, and in one case during a detailed description of human anatomy according to Galen—and in all these cases turns out to be justified in her belief that the king's curiosity about the sequel would buy her another day of life.

History and editions

Early influences

Enlarge picture
A page from Kelileh va Demneh dated 1429, from Herat, a Persian translation of the Panchatantra — depicts the manipulative jackal-vizier, Dimna, trying to lead his lion-king into war.
The tales in the collection can be traced to the Indian, Persian, and Arab ancient storytelling traditions.[1] Many stories from Indian and Persian folklore parallel the tales[1] as well as Jewish sources.[2] These tales were probably in circulation before they were collected and codified into a single collection. This work was further shaped by scribes, storytellers, and scholars and evolved into a collection of three distinct layers of storytelling by the 15th century:[1]

1) Persian tales influenced by Indian folklore and adapted into Arabic by the 10th century.[1]

2) Stories recorded in Baghdad during the 10th century.[1]

3) Medieval Egyptian folklore.[1]

The Indian folklore is represented by certain animal stories, which reflect influence from ancient Sanskrit fables. The influence of the Baital Pachisi collections is notable.[3] The Jataka is a collection of 547 stories, which are for the most part moral stories with an ethical purpose. The Tale of the Bull and the Ass and the linked Tale of the Merchant and his Wife are found in the frame stories of both the Jataka and the Arabian Nights.[4]

The influence from the folklore of Baghdad is represented by the tales of the Abbasid caliphs; the Cairene influence is made evident by Maruf the cobbler. Tales such as Iram of the columns are based upon the pre-Islamic legends of the Arabian peninsula; motifs are employed from the ancient Mesopotamian tale of Gilgamesh. Possible Greek influences have also been noted.[5]

Versions

The first European version of the Book of the Thousand and One Nights was translated into French by Antoine Galland from an Arabic text and other sources.[1] This 12-volume book, Les Mille et une nuits, contes arabes traduits en français ("Thousand and one nights, Arab stories translated into French"), included stories that were not in the original Arabic manuscript. "Aladdin's Lamp" and "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" appeared first in Galland's translation and cannot be found in any of the original manuscripts. He wrote that he heard them from a Syrian Christian storyteller from Aleppo, a Maronite scholar whom he called "Hanna."

Galland's version of the Nights were immensely popular throughout Europe, and later versions of the Nights were written by Galland's publisher using Galland's name without his consent.

A well-known English translation is that by Sir Richard Francis Burton, entitled The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night (1885). Unlike previous editions his ten-volume translation was not bowdlerized. Though printed in the Victorian era it contained all the erotic nuances of the source material replete with sexual imagery and pederastic allusions added as appendices to the main stories by Burton. Burton circumvented strict Victorian laws on obscene material by printing a private edition for subscribers only rather than publicly publishing the book. His original ten volumes were followed by a further six entitled The Supplemental Nights to the Thousand Nights and a Night, which were printed between 1886 and 1888.
Enlarge picture
Poster for a Russian production of 1001 nights.
Recent versions of the Nights include that of the French doctor J. C. Mardrus, translated into English by Powys Mathers, and, notably, a critical edition based on the 14th century Syrian manuscript in the Bibliothèque Nationale, compiled in Arabic by Muhsin Mahdi and rendered into English by Husain Haddawy.

In 2005, Brazilian scholar Mamede Mustafa Jarouche started publishing a thorough Portuguese translation of the work, based on the comparative analysis of a series of different Arabic manuscripts. The first two volumes of a planned five- or six-volume set have already been released, comprising the complete Syrian branch of the book. The remaining volumes will be a translation of the later Egyptian branch.[7]

Timeline

Enlarge picture
Arabic Manuscript of The Thousand and One Nights back to the 1300s


Scholars have assembled a timeline concerning the publication history of The Nights:[8][9]
  • Oldest Arabic manuscript (a few handwritten pages) from Syria dating to the early 800s discovered by scholar Nabia Abbott in 1948.
  • 900s AD — Mention of The Nights in Ibn Al-Nadim's "Fihrist" (Catalogue of books) in Baghdad. He mentions the book's history and its Persian origins.
  • 900s — Second oldest reference to The Nights in Muruj Al-Dhahab (Meadows of Gold) by Al-Masudi.
  • 1000s AD — Mention of the original Persian name of the One Thousands and One Nights by Qatran Tabrizi in the following couplet in Persian:
هزار ره صفت هفت خوان و رويين دژ
فرو شنيدم و خواندم من از هزار افسان


A thousand times, accounts of Rouyin Dezh and Haft Khān
I heard and read from Hezār Afsān (literally Thousand Fables)
  • 1300s — Existing Syrian manuscript in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris (contains about 300 tales).
  • 1704 — Antoine Galland's French translation is the first European version of The Nights. Later volumes were introduced using Galland's name though the stories were written by unknown persons at the behest of the publisher wanting to capitalize on the popularity of the collection.
  • 1706 — An anonymously translated version in English appears in Europe dubbed the "Grub Street" version.
  • 1775 — Egyptian version of The Nights called "ZER" (Hermann Zotenberg's Egyptian Recension) with 200 tales (no surviving edition exists).
  • 1814 — Calcutta I, the earliest existing Arabic printed version, is published by the British East India Company. A second volume was released in 1818. Both had 100 tales each.
  • 1825-1838 — The Breslau/Habicht edition is published in Arabic in 8 volumes. Christian Maxmilian Habicht (born in Breslau, Germany, 1775) collaborated with the Tunisian Murad Al-Najjar and created this edition containing 1001 stories. Using versions of The Nights, tales from Al-Najjar, and other stories from unknown origins Habicht published his version in Arabic and German.
  • 1842-1843 — Four additional volumes by Habicht.
  • 1835 Bulaq version — These two volumes, printed by the Egyptian government, are the oldest printed (by a publishing house) version of The Nights in Arabic by a non-European. It is primarily a reprinting of the ZER text.
  • 1839-1842 — Calcutta II (4 volumes) is published. It claims to be based on an older Egyptian manuscript (which was never found). This version contains many elements and stories from the Habicht edition.
  • 1838 — Torrens version in English.
  • 1838-1840 — Edward William Lane publishes an English translation. Notable for its exclusion of content Lane found "immoral" and for its anthropological notes on Arab customs by Lane.
  • 1882-1884 — John Payne publishes an English version translated entirely from Calcutta II, adding some tales from Calcutta I and Breslau.
  • 1885-1888 — Sir Richard Francis Burton publishes an English translation from several sources. His version accentuated the sexuality of the stories vis-à-vis Lane's bowdlerized translation.
  • 1889-1904 — J. C. Mardrus publishes a French version using Bulaq and Calcutta II editions.
  • 1984 — Muhsin Mahdi publishes an Arabic translation he says is faithful to the oldest Arabic versions surviving.
  • 1990s — Husain Haddawy publishes an English translation of Mahdi.

Literature

The influence of the versions of the Nights on World Literature is immense. Writers as diverse as Henry Fielding to Naguib Mahfouz have alluded to the work by name in their own literature.

Examples of this influence include:
  • Alexandre Dumas wrote "The Count of Monte Cristo" in which the protagonist is deeply influenced by the Orient and adapts Sinbad the Sailor as an alias.
  • Edgar Allan Poe wrote a "Thousand and Second Night" as a separate tale, called "The Thousand and Second Tale of Scheherazade." It depicts the 8th and final voyage of Sinbad the Sailor, along with the various mysteries Sinbad and his crew encounter; the anomalies are then described as footnotes to the story. While the king is uncertain—except in the case of the elephants carrying the world on the back of the turtle—that these mysteries are real, they are actual modern events that occurred in various places during, or before, Poe's lifetime. The story ends with the king in such disgust at the tale Scheherazade has just woven, that he has her executed the very next day.
  • Bill Willingham, creator of the comic book series Fables, used the story of The Nights as the basis of his Fables prequel, . In the book, Snow White tells the tales of the Fables, magical literary characters, to the sultan in order to avoid her impending death.
  • Two notable novels loosely based on The Nights are Arabian Nights and Days by Naguib Mahfouz and When Dreams Travel by Githa Hariharan. The children's book The Storyteller's Daughter by Cameron Dokey is also loosely derived from The Nights.
  • The Nights has also inspired poetry in English. Two examples are Alfred Tennyson's poem, "Recollections of the Arabian Nights" (1830) and William Wordsworth's "The Prelude" (1805).
  • The Book of One Thousand and One Nights has an estranged cousin: The Manuscript Found in Saragossa, by Jan Potocki. A Polish noble of the late 18th century, he traveled the Orient looking for an original edition of The Nights, but never found it. Upon returning to Europe, he wrote his masterpiece, a multi-leveled frame tale.
  • The book is often referenced in numerous works of Jorge Luis Borges.
  • It also greatly influence famed horror and science fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft in his early years as a child in which he would imagine himself living the adventures of the heroes in the book. It also inspired him to come up with his famed Necronomicon.

Film and television



There have been many adaptations of The Nights for both television and cinema.

The atmosphere of The Nights influenced such films as Fritz Lang's 1921 Der müde Tod, the 1924 Hollywood film The Thief of Bagdad starring Douglas Fairbanks, and its 1940 British remake. Several stories served as source material for The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926), the first surviving feature-length animated film.

One of Hollywood's first feature films to be based on The Nights was in 1942, with the movie called Arabian Nights. It starred Maria Montez as Scheherazade, Sabu Dastagir as Ali Ben Ali and Jon Hall as Harun al-Rashid. The storyline bears virtually no resemblance to the traditional version of the book. In the film, Scheherazade is a dancer who attempts to overthrow Caliph Harun al-Rashid and marry his brother. After Scheherazade’s initial coup attempt fails and she is sold into slavery, many adventures then ensue. Maria Montez and Jon Hall also starred in the 1944 film Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.

In 1959 UPA released an animated feature about Mr. Magoo, based on 1001 Arabian Nights.

Osamu Tezuka worked on two (very loose) feature film adaptations, the children's film Sinbad no Bōken in 1962 and then Senya Ichiya Monogatari in 1969, an adult-oriented animated feature film.

The most commercially successful movie based on The Nights was Aladdin, the 1992 animated movie by the Walt Disney Company, which starred the voices of Scott Weinger and Robin Williams. The film led to several sequels and a television series of the same name.

"The Voyages of Sinbad" has been adapted for television and film several times, most recently in the 2003 animated feature , featuring the voices of Brad Pitt and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Perhaps the most famous Sinbad film was the 1958 movie The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, produced by the stop-motion animation pioneer Ray Harryhausen.

A recent well-received television adaptation was the Emmy award-winning miniseries Arabian Nights, directed by Steve Barron and starring Mili Avital as Scheherazade and Dougray Scott as Shahryar. It was originally shown over two nights on April 30, and May 1, 2000 on ABC in the United States and BBC One in the United Kingdom.

Other notable versions of The Nights include the famous 1974 Italian movie Il fiore delle mille e una notte by Pier Paolo Pasolini and the 1990 French movie Les 1001 nuits, in which Catherine Zeta-Jones made her debut playing Scheherazade. There are also numerous Bollywood movies inspired by the book, including Aladdin and Sinbad. In this version the two heroes meet and share in each other's adventures; the djinn of the lamp is female, and Aladdin marries her rather than the princess.

Music

In 1888, Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov completed his Op. 35 Scheherazade, in four movements, based upon four of the tales from The Nights: "The Sea and Sinbad's Ship," "The Kalendar Prince," "The Young Prince and The Young Princess," and "Festival at Baghdad."

There have been several Arabian Nights musicals and operettas, either based on particular tales or drawing on the general atmosphere of the book. Most notable are Chu Chin Chow (1916) and Kismet (1953), not to mention several musicals and innumerable pantomimes on the story of "Aladdin."

In 1975, the band Renaissance released an album called Scheherazade and Other Stories. The second half of this album consists entirely of the "Song of Scheherazade," an orchestral-rock composition based on the The Nights.

In 1999, power metal band Kamelot included a song on their 1999 album The Fourth Legacy called "Nights of Arabia".

In 2003, Nordic experimental indie pop group When released an album called Pearl Harvest with lyrics from The Nights.

In 2007, Japanese pop duo BENNIE K released a single titled "1001 Nights," also releasing a music video strongly based around the The Nights.

Games

The Nights is the basis for the story of the video game Sonic and the Secret Rings, which features main characters Tails as Ali Baba, Knuckles as Sinbad, and Doctor Eggman as King Shahryar. The main villain Erazor Djinn was once the "Genie of the Lamp" from the story "Aladdin," who was also responsible for turning King Solomon into a skeleton.

The first expansion set for was "," containing cards based on and inspired by One Thousand and One Nights.

Jordan Mechner stated that The Nights was an inspiration of his popular Prince of Persia series.

Notes

1. ^ Zipes, Jack David; Burton, Richard Francis (1991). The Arabian Nights: The Marvels and Wonders of the Thousand and One Nights pg 585. Signet Classic
2. ^ Jewish sources
3. ^ Burton, Richard F. (2002). Vikram and the Vampire Or Tales of Hindu Devilry pg xi. Adamant Media Corporation
4. ^ Irwin, Robert (2004). The Arabian Nights: A Companion pg 65. Tauris Parke Paperbacks
5. ^ Pinault, David (1992). Story-Telling Techniques in the Arabian Nights pg 5. Brill Academic Publishers
6. ^ Jacob W. Grimm (1982). Selected Tales pg 19. Penguin Classics
7. ^ (סיפורי אלף לילה ולילה) Cristiane Capuchinho, Lançada a primeira tradução do árabe d'As Mil e Uma Noites, USP Online, Universidade de São Paulo, 6 May 2005. Accessed online 12 November 2006.
8. ^ Dwight Reynolds. "The Thousand and One Nights: A History of the Text and its Reception." The Cambridge History of Arabic Literature: Arabic Literature in the Post-Classical Period. Cambridge UP, 2006.
9. ^ Irwin, Robert. The Arabian Nights: A Companion. Tauris Parke, 2004.

See also

External links

References

Film and television links

Book Links: Nights filmography: 1907-2000
Arabian Nights may refer to:
  • Arabian Nights, also known as The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, a medieval Middle-Eastern literary epic which tells the story of Scheherazade

..... Click the link for more information.
al-‘Arabiyyah in written Arabic (Kufic script):  
Pronunciation: /alˌʕa.raˈbij.ja/
Spoken in: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman,
..... Click the link for more information.
fɒːɾˈsiː in Perso-Arabic script (Nasta`liq style):  
Pronunciation: [fɒːɾˈsiː]
Spoken in: Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and areas of Uzbekistan and Pakistan.
..... Click the link for more information.
Turkish (Türkçe, ]
..... Click the link for more information.
Urdu}}} 
Writing system: Urdu alphabet (Nasta'liq script) 
Official status
Official language of:  Pakistan ;
..... Click the link for more information.
Hebrew}}} 
Writing system: Alefbet Ivri abjad 
Official status
Official language of:  Israel
Regulated by: Academy of the Hebrew Language

..... Click the link for more information.
History of India begins with the Indus Valley Civilization, which flourished in the north-western part of the Indian subcontinent from 3300 to 1700 BCE. This Bronze Age civilization was followed by the Iron Age Vedic period, which witnessed the rise of major kingdoms known as the
..... Click the link for more information.
BCE Zayandeh River Civilization Sialk civilization 7500–1000 Jiroft civilization (Aratta) Proto-Elamite civilization Bactria-Margiana Complex Elamite dynasties 2800–550 Kingdom of Mannai Median Empire 728–550 Achaemenid Empire Seleucid Empire Greco-Bactrian
..... Click the link for more information.
fɒːɾˈsiː in Perso-Arabic script (Nasta`liq style):  
Pronunciation: [fɒːɾˈsiː]
Spoken in: Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and areas of Uzbekistan and Pakistan.
..... Click the link for more information.
Gumhūriyyat Miṣr al-ʿArabiyyah
Arab Republic of Egypt


Flag Coat of arms
Anthem
Bilady, Bilady, Bilady
..... Click the link for more information.


    Mesopotamian mythology is the collective name given to Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian, and Babylonian mythologies from the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Iraq.
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    A caliphate (from the Arabic خلافة or khilāfah), is the Islamic form of government representing the political unity and leadership of the Muslim world.
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    A frame story (also frame tale, frame narrative, etc.) is a narrative technique whereby a main story is composed, at least in part, for the purpose of organizing a set of shorter stories, each of which is a story within a story—or for surrounding a single story
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    fɒːɾˈsiː in Perso-Arabic script (Nasta`liq style):  
    Pronunciation: [fɒːɾˈsiː]
    Spoken in: Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and areas of Uzbekistan and Pakistan.
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    Scheherazade, more correctly known as Shahrazad and sometimes Scheherazadea or Shahrzād (Persian: شهرزاد Šahrzād; IPA:
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    fɒːɾˈsiː in Perso-Arabic script (Nasta`liq style):  
    Pronunciation: [fɒːɾˈsiː]
    Spoken in: Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and areas of Uzbekistan and Pakistan.
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    Aladdin (an adaptation of the Arabic name (orginally Tunisian) Alā' ad-Dīn, Arabic: علاء الدين literally "nobility of faith") is one of the tales of medieval Arabian origin
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    Ali Baba (Arabic: علي بابا) is a fictional character based in Ancient Arabia. He is described in the adventure tale of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, part of The Book of One Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    Sinbad the Sailor (also spelled Sindbad; Arabic: السندباد البحري, as-Sindibaad al-Bahri
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    A Vizier (Persian,وزير - wazīr) (sometimes also spelled Vazir, Vizir, Vasir, Wazir, Vesir, or Vezir - grammatical vowel changes are common in many oriental languages), literally "burden-bearer" or "helper", is a term,
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    Scheherazade, more correctly known as Shahrazad and sometimes Scheherazadea or Shahrzād (Persian: شهرزاد Šahrzād; IPA:
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    burlesque is employed in genre criticism to describe any imitative work that derives humor from an incongruous contrast between style and subject. In this usage, forms of satire such as parody are types of burlesque (Abrams, 1999).
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    Aladdin (an adaptation of the Arabic name (orginally Tunisian) Alā' ad-Dīn, Arabic: علاء الدين literally "nobility of faith") is one of the tales of medieval Arabian origin
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    Sinbad the Sailor (also spelled Sindbad; Arabic: السندباد البحري, as-Sindibaad al-Bahri
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    Ali Baba (Arabic: علي بابا) is a fictional character based in Ancient Arabia. He is described in the adventure tale of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, part of The Book of One Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    GEnie was an online service created by a General Electric business - GEIS (now GXS) that ran from 1985 through the end of 1999. At its peak in 1991, GEnie claimed around 400,000 users. Peak simultaneous usage was around 10,000 users.
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    Caliph (pronounced khaleef in Arabic) is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the leader of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'a.
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    Harun al-Rashid
    Caliph of Baghdad

    Reign 14 September 786 - 24 March 809
    15 Rabi' al-awwal 170AH - 3 Jumada al-thani 193AH
    Born March 17 763(763--)
    Rayy
    Died
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    Abu-Nuwas al-Hasan ben Hani al-Hakami (750–810), mostly known as Abū-Nuwās (Arabic:ابونواس), was a renowned Arabic poet. Born in the city of Ahvaz in Persia, he was of Arab and Persian descent.
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    Ja'far bin Yahya Barmaki (Arabic: جعفر بن يحيى, ja`far ben yaḥyā) (767-803) was the son of a Persian Vizier (Yahya ibn Khalid) of the Arab Abbasid Chaliph, Harun al-Rashid,
    ..... Click the link for more information.


    This article is copied from an article on Wikipedia.org - the free encyclopedia created and edited by online user community. The text was not checked or edited by anyone on our staff. Although the vast majority of the wikipedia encyclopedia articles provide accurate and timely information please do not assume the accuracy of any particular article. This article is distributed under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License.