A New Translation

Paulo Lemos Horta (Editor, New York University), Yasmine Seale (Translator)

Logo markA Liveright book


A dynamic French-Syrian translator, lauded for her lively poetic voice, tackles the enchanted world of Aladdin in this sparkling new translation.

Long defined by popular film adaptations that have reductively portrayed Aladdin as a simplistic rags-to-riches story for children, this work of dazzling imagination—and occasionally dark themes—finally comes to vibrant new life. “In the capital of one of China’s vast and wealthy kingdoms,” begins Shahrazad— the tale’s imperiled-yet-ingenious storyteller—there lived Aladdin, a rebellious fifteen-year-old who falls prey to a double-crossing sorcerer and is ultimately saved by the ruse of a princess.

One of the best-loved folktales of all time, Aladdin has been capturing the imagination of readers, illustrators, and filmmakers since an eighteenth-century French publication first added the tale to The Arabian Nights. Yet, modern English translators have elided the story’s enchanting whimsy and mesmerizing rhythms. Now, translator Yasmine Seale and literary scholar Paulo Lemos Horta offer an elegant, eminently readable rendition of Aladdin in what is destined to be a classic for decades to come.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • November 2018
  • ISBN 978-1-63149-516-8
  • 5.9 × 8.6 in / 144 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“It's not every day you come across a new translation of The Arabian Nights, but the French Syrian writer, Yasmine Seale, has rendered afresh the 18th-century version of Aladdin by Antoine Galland, and has done a cracking job.” — Melanie McDonagh, The Spectator

“Yasmine Seale has brought Aladdin back to life: she captures the grace and the strangeness of the version collected and written down by Antoine Galland in the eighteenth century, and has found unexpected riches of fine, sly, parodic humor in a story which has suffered in its long, twisting history from manhandling, truncation, and an excess of pomp and ceremony. This is a fresh, witty, and vigorous retelling. ” — Marina Warner, Kirkus Reviews

“Horta’s contextualizing introduction and Seale’s straightforward translation have convinced me that the joy can be in the telling, rather than the origins, of this story.... Yasmine Seale makes a tale that is almost too familiar new again in her smooth, dark, exciting interpretation of Aladdin.”” — Amanda Hannoosh Steinberg, Public Books

“Yasmine Seale’s new translation of the classic tale reveals its surprising depth.” — Wendy Smith, Publishers Weekly

“Seale’s splendid translation introduces readers to the surprising depth of Aladdin’s adventures while maintaining a classical feel.... This exhilarating translation will thrill fans of darker, more complex fairy tales and upend readers’ preconceived image of Aladdin.” — Publishers Weekly

“Yasmine Seale's vivacious prose resurrects a classic folktale that we thought we knew, and animates it with deeper meanings. This book is a superb example of translation as an art form. ” — Pankaj Mishra, Windham Campell Prize-winning author of Age of Anger: A History of the Present

“Sparkling.... Seale’s elegant new translation of Aladdin restores the tale to its roots. Tapping into her own Syrian-French background, Seale has worked from both Arabic and French sources to produce her captivating translation.... steeped in magic and stripped of some of the phony adornments that have diluted its essence over the centuries, [this] is a delightful retelling of the dreams and adventures of the wily young peasant boy who matures to become a beloved ruler.” — Robert Weibezahl, BookPage

“A late addition to the Thousand and One Nights, this classic tale of magic lamps and jinni is revisited in a fresh translation. Themes of wish fulfillment and transformation have granted it infinite life, as fairy story, pantomime, film, and literary touchstone. If there are only seven basic stories in the world of literature, this is most probably one of them.” — Kirkus Reviews