A Thousand One Nights
Eventually the Vizier (Wazir), whose duty it is to provide them, 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 begins to tell the king a tale, but does not end it. The king, curious about how the story ends, is thus forced to postpone her execution in order to hear the conclusion. The next night, as soon as she finishes the tale, she begins another one, and the king, eager to hear the conclusion of that tale as well, postpones her execution once again. This goes on for one thousand and one nights, hence the name.
A Thousand One Nights
Muhsin Mahdi's 1984 Leiden edition, based on the Galland Manuscript, was rendered into English by Husain Haddawy (1990). This translation has been praised as "very readable" and "strongly recommended for anyone who wishes to taste the authentic flavour of those tales." An additional second volume of Arabian nights translated by Haddawy, composed of popular tales not present in the Leiden edition, was published in 1995. Both volumes were the basis for a single-volume reprint of selected tales of Haddawy's translations.
The One Thousand and One Nights employs an early example of the frame story, or framing device: the character Scheherazade narrates a set of tales (most often fairy tales) to the Sultan Shahriyar over many nights. Many of Scheherazade's tales are themselves frame stories, such as the Tale of Sinbad the Seaman and Sinbad the Landsman, which is a collection of adventures related by Sinbad the Seaman to Sinbad the Landsman.
The Arabian nights entertainments; with illustrations. Chicago, New York, Rand, McNally & company [c1914]There are in fact several layers of the tales, the earliest manuscript tradition originating in 9th century Baghdad, followed by a Syrian manuscript tradition, and an Egyptian manuscript tradition, not to mention the various oral traditions. The tales were written by different hands and seem to have accrued over the centuries, drawing from the cultural traditions of the Middle East, as well as from those of the various regions with which the Middle East had been in contact through trade, travel, invasions, or war, over the centuries. As a result, the tales themselves contain elements from Persia, India, Greece, Turkey, Central Asia, in addition to references to the Mongol invasions, the Crusades, among others. The tales were then Arabized and adapted for a Middle Eastern and Islamic audience.
Sherrezade:I know a thousand tales to fill a thousand nightsBut now another story comes to mindA noble, young vizier ascends to wondrous heightsHe's brilliant as he's handsome and handsome as he's kind
The Thousand and One Nights is a collection of folktales drawn from traditional Arab, Persian, and Indian sources compiled by an unknown Egyptian writer in the seventeenth century. Written in colloquial Arabic, the work incorporates a variety of styles and idioms that testifies to its diverse sources. The Thousand and One Nights was soon translated into French, English, and other languages. Eventually it became -- sometimes under the title Arabian Nights -- the most widely read book of Arabic literature in the West. The unifying plan of the individual tales is the story of Scheherazade, a beautiful maiden who is married to the Shahriyar, King of Samarkand. After executing his first queen for infidelity, Shahriyar marries a virgin each day and then kills her the next morning. His vizier's daughter, young Scheherazade, willingly weds the king and entertains him for a thousand and one nights with her stories of Sinbad, Aladdin, Ali Baba, djins, and sorcerers. She survives by leaving each night's tale incomplete and only finishing it the next evening, whereupon she starts a new story. By the thousand and first night, she has already borne the king three sons and won his devotion.
Richard van Leeuwen is currently affiliated to the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Amsterdam. He has published extensively on the Thousand and one nights, modern Arabic literature, Middle Eastern history and Islam. He has also worked as a translator of Arabic literature and he is currently doing research on Middle Eastern travel and Rashîd Ridâ
In the soft light, Scheherazade's facial features are brought out with a kind resonance. There is patience in her eyes, perhaps hinting at her persistence through the 1001 nights of storytelling to please the sultan. 041b061a72