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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $17.00
  • December 2009
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-92808-2
  • 544 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

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The Arabian Nights

Norton Critical Editions


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Husain Haddawy (Translator), Daniel Heller-Roazen (Editor, Princeton University), Muhsin Mahdi (Editor)


This Norton Critical Edition includes twenty-eight tales from The Arabian Nights translated by Husain Haddawy on the basis of the oldest existing Arabic manuscript.

Few works of literature are as familiar and beloved as The Arabian Nights. Yet few remain also as unknown. In English, The Arabian Nights is a literary work of relatively recent date—the first versions of the tales appeared in English barely two hundred years ago. The tales are accompanied by a preface, a note on the text, and explanatory annotations.

“Contexts” presents three of the oldest witnesses to The Arabian Nights in the Arabic tradition, together in English for the first time: an anonymous ninth-century fragment, Al Mas‘udi’s Muruj al-Dhahab, and Ibn al-Nadim’s The Fihrist. Also included are three related works by the nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers Edgar Allan Poe, Marcel Proust, and Taha Husayn.

“Criticism” collects eleven wide-ranging essays on The Arabian Nights’ central themes by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Josef Horovitz, Jorge Luis Borges, Francesco Gabrieli, Mia Irene Gerhardt, Tzvetan Todorov, Andras Hamori, Heinz Grotzfield, Jerome W. Clinton, Abdelfattah Kilito, and David Pinault.

A Chronology of The Arabian Nights and a Selected Bibliography are also included.


Endorsements & Reviews

“A fine new translation. Bawdy, colloquial and wondrously inventive.” — Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

“Easily the clearest, most fluent and readable translation.” — A. S. Byatt, Sunday Times [London]

“Indispensable. Not a new version of an old favorite, but a work we’ve never known.” — Geoffrey O'Brien, Voice Literary Supplement

“A distinguished new translation.” — Edward Said, The Nation

“The resourceful Shahrazad has never been more entertaining than in this fresh and vigorous version of this immortal book.” — Doris Lessing, The Independent


    A Note on the Text

    The Text of The Arabian Nights

    1. Foreword
    2. Prologue
    3. [The Story of King Shahrayar and Shahrazad, His Vizier’s Daughter]
    4. [The Tale of the Ox and the Donkey]
    5. [The Tale of the Merchant and His Wife]
    6. [The Story of the Merchant and the Demon]
    7. [The First Old Man’s Tale]
    8. [The Second Old Man’s Tale]
    9. [The Tale of King Yunan and the Sage Duban]
    10. [The Tale of the Husband and the Parrot]
    11. [The Tale of the King’s Son and the She-Ghoul]
    12. [The Tale of the Enchanted King]
    13. [The Story of the Porter and the Three Ladies]
    14. [The First Dervish’s Tale]
    15. [The Second Dervish’s Tale]
    16. [The Tale of the Envious and the Envied]
    17. [The Third Dervish’s Tale]
    18. [The Tale of the First Lady, the Mistress of the House]
    19. [The Tale of the Second Lady, the Flogged One]
    20. [The Story of the Three Apples]
    21. [The Story of the Two Viziers, Nur al-Din Ali al-Misri and Bar al-Din Hasan al-Basri]
    22. [The Story of the Hunchback]
    23. [The Christian Broker’s Tale: The Young Man with the Severed Hand and the Girl]
    24. [The Steward’s Tale: The Young Man from Baghdad and Lady Zubaida’s Maid]
    25. [The Tailor’s Tale: The Lame Young Man from Baghdad and the Barber]
    26. [The Tale of the Second Brother, Baqbaqa the Paraplegic]
    27. [The Tale of the Fifth Brother, the Cropped of Ears]
    28. [The Story of Jullanar of the Sea]
    29. [The Story of Sindbad the Sailor]


    1. Early Witnesses
      1. Anonymous • A Ninth-Century Fragment of the Thousand Nights
      2. Al Mas’ūdi • Meadows of Gold (Murūj al-Dhahab)
      3. Ibn Ishāq Al-Nadīm • The Fihrist
    2. Modern Echoes
      1. Edgar Allan Poe • The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade
      2. Marcel Proust • From Remembrance of Things Past
      3. Taha Husayn • From The Dreams of Scheherazade


    1. Hugo von Hofmannsthal • A Thousand and One Nights
    2. Josef Horovitz • The Origins of The Arabian Nights
    3. Jorge Luis Borges • The Translators of The Thousand and One Nights
    4. Francesco Gabrieli • The Thousand and One Nights in European Culture
    5. Mia Irene Gerhardt • From The Art of Story-Telling
    6. Tzvetan Todorov • Narrative Men
    7. Andras Hamori • A Comic Romance from The Thousand and One Nights: The Tale of Two Viziers
    8. Heinz Grotzfeld • Neglected Conclusions of The Arabian Nights
    9. Jerome W. Clinton • Madness and Cure in the 1001 Nights
    10. Abdelfattah Kilito • The Eye and the Needle
    11. David Pinault • Story-Telling Techniques in The Arabian Nights

    The Arabian Nights: A Chronology

    Selected Bibliography