This famous collection of fairy tales is best known by the framed format of narration where Sheherazade tells her husband a tale after a tale just to postpone her death. After 1001 nights he finally realized his love and decides to spare her life (she gave birth to three kids in the meantime). At present, The Arabian Nights are mostly famous about there exotic settings but in the original collection is oriented on trust and loyalty, common sense and responsibility as other known fairy tales collections.
I guess I shall provide some more interesting facts:
- Arabian Nights are not very Arabian at all. They came from Turkey, Persia, China, India, Greece … But at least some of them very possible originated in Arabian countries.
- The framed form of collection is in many cases double framed: for instance, Scheherazade tells a story about a merchant who tells a story about himself and black dogs. Pretty complicated and very useful for transition from one fairy tale to another, one night to another without ending the tale before beginning another one, what keeps the listener in non-stop anticipation.
- History of translations is almost as interesting as the collection itself. Arabian Nights came into Europe as Thousand and a night translated in French by Antoine Galland in the 18th century and was an instant hit. The collection appeared in twelve books published between 1704 and 1717 (with the last volume being printed posthumously). It became even more popular when Sir Richard Burton translated it in English in 1885 and emphasized all sexually related content (he even added footnotes about Oriental sexual practices!). Another important translation was definitely made by Jean Charles (Joseph Charles) Mardrus who had added many parts of his own text to make the book, again published in 12 volumes, with luxurious decoration, more appealing to the audience. We have to conclude until Disney’s adaptations The Arabian Nights were not really meant for children’s ears…
If you are interested, there is another fascinating article about the 1001 Arabian Nights:
I hope you learned something new about this amazing collection!