Study Guide

The Arabian Nights Essay

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White is the publisher at the Seattle-based press Scala House Press. In this essay, White argues that Burton's reputation as a preeminent translator of The Arabian Nights is not deserved.

In 1885, Richard Burton assured himself of a longstanding place in the literary world with the publication of his ten-volume translation of Alf Layla wa Layla, variously known in English translation as A Thousand and One Nights, or The Arabian Nights. Burton's work, which he originally titled A Plain and Literal Translation of the Arabian Nights' Entertainments, sold out quickly of its initial print run and gave the British-born explorer, Orientalist, and writer recognition as the tales' pre-eminent translator—a reputation that would last well into the twentieth-century. Burton, however, was never deserving of that reputation. His version was essentially plagiarized, with some modifications, from an existing translation by John Payne. While some of his revisions improved Payne's...

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This section contains 1,993 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Arabian Nights Study Guide
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The Arabian Nights from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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