18 Facts About Arabian Nights


One Thousand and One Arabian Nights is a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age.

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Common to all the editions of the Arabian Nights is the framing device of the story of the ruler Shahryar being narrated the tales by his wife Scheherazade.

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Still, even scholars who deny this version the exclusive status of "the only real Arabian Nights" recognize it as being the best source on the original style and linguistic form of the medieval work.

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In 1997, a further Arabic edition appeared, containing tales from the Arabian Nights transcribed from a seventeenth-century manuscript in the Egyptian dialect of Arabic.

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

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Later versions of the Nights include that of the French doctor J C Mardrus, issued from 1898 to 1904.

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One Thousand and One Arabian Nights employs an early example of the frame story, or framing device: the character Scheherazade narrates a set of tales to the Sultan Shahriyar over many nights.

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The Arabian Nights improved on the Panchatantra in several ways, particularly in the way a story is introduced.

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Every tale in The Thousand and One Arabian Nights begins with an 'appearance of destiny' which manifests itself through an anomaly, and one anomaly always generates another.

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The Arabian Nights is almost certainly the earliest surviving literature that mentions ghouls, and many of the stories in that collection involve or reference ghouls.

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Several elements from Arabian Nights mythology are now common in modern fantasy, such as genies, bahamuts, magic carpets, magic lamps, etc.

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Nevertheless, the Nights have proved an inspiration to some modern Egyptian writers, such as Tawfiq al-Hakim, Taha Hussein and Naguib Mahfouz .

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Themes and motifs with parallels in the Arabian Nights are found in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales and Boccaccio's Decameron.

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The success of the Arabian Nights spread across Europe and by the end of the century there were translations of Galland into English, German, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Russian, Flemish and Yiddish.

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Arabian Nights continued to be a favourite book of many British authors of the Romantic and Victorian eras.

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Stories from the One Thousand and One Arabian Nights have been popular subjects for films, beginning with Georges Melies' Le Palais des Mille et une nuits .

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The animated feature film, One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, produced in Japan and directed by Osamu Tezuka and Eichii Yamamoto, featured psychedelic imagery and sounds, and erotic material intended for adults.

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Many artists have illustrated the Arabian nights, including: Pierre-Clement Marillier for Le Cabinet des Fees, Gustave Dore, Leon Carre, Roger Blachon, Francoise Boudignon, Andre Dahan, Amato Soro, Albert Robida, Alcide Theophile Robaudi and Marcelino Truong; Vittorio Zecchin and Emanuele Luzzati; The German Morgan; Mohammed Racim, Sani ol-Molk, Anton Pieck and Emre Orhun.

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