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text 2014-12-19 21:39
Reading in Progress: Arabian Nights - In Which I Must Share This One Story...
Arabian Nights: The Marvels and Wonders of The Thousand and One Nights - Anonymous,Richard Francis Burton,Jack Zipes

I was going to add this to the review, but since I seem to have become more and more pokey about actually writing up full reviews and also because I MUST share this wackiness with someone, I'm going to tell you about just this one story in this edition. Because, wow. I'll write more about this, but this is an example of Differences in Translations. The Arabian Nights has been notorious for having Stories Too Frisky For Victorians, but I always thought meh, Victorians were easily shocked. However I'd also not made it far enough through this edition to read this story - the stories go on and on and it's a bit much to chug through all at one sitting.


Anyway, this is a wonderful example of a story that yes, I could see how those mamas then (and now) might think this is not the fairy tale to read aloud to your kids at bedtime. But oh is it...well, I'll just show you.

 

All of the tales involve one story that leads into another which leads into another, so I'm going to hop over a bit to get to the part that made me realize "nope, this is not like the edited versions I've read." Also chopping out other characters here and there. So this is not anything like the complete story. As will be obvious, I'm retelling it in my own way, while giggling a lot. The book's translation is not anything near this tone - but it is still very amused with itself and it's clear we're supposed to laugh at a lot of it. Anything in quotes is taken directly from the text - so look to that for a better idea of the book's writing style.

 

I did take out endless references to good looking people being "like the full moon" because that was on every single page, to the point where I started imagining them all as strange, spherical moon-aliens.

 

The sections that have more quotes are to insure you don't think I'm making any of this up. And because the Zipes translation is hysterical.


So here we go, and do let me know your response to this. I'll write more on the full book elsewhere. (I should add up here at the start that I don't at all like the trope of the sultan's using marriage to the hunchback as a punishment. I know it's an ancient comedy setup, but still.)

 

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