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Tales of Arabian Nights translation/version?

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29 Jul 2009 16:40 - 29 Jul 2009 17:01 #36600 by Merkles
What is the best version of Tales of Arabian Nights that you have read? I've gone through some of the lists on amazon...but it isn't clear which is the most fun to read and the best translation. I'm not looking for scholarly, necessarily, is what I'm getting at?

Anyone read these?
Last edit: 29 Jul 2009 17:01 by Merkles.

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29 Jul 2009 18:01 #36604 by mjl1783
I like John Payne's. It's pretty close to Sir Frances Burton's (probably the definitive English-language version), but not quite as flowery. Most of the other ones I've seen are either sanitized, or they're more modern language, or they're not in English.

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29 Jul 2009 18:34 #36607 by ubarose
I'm looking for a new copy myself. I decided I wanted to re-read it, and have been searching up and down through our books for my copy. It's the Burton translation and is a big hard back book. I don't know how I managed to misplace it.

I'm thinking of getting the Mahdi & Haddawy translation, because I know that as soon as I get a new copy and start reading it, I'll find my old copy. That way I won't feel stupid for having two copies, since they will be two different versions.

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30 Jul 2009 00:07 - 30 Jul 2009 00:09 #36628 by rocketkiwi
The Haddawy translation is the most readable I've encountered so far. It doesn't include stories that weren't part of the early manuscript it's based on (so no Sinbad, Aladdin, or Ali-Baba if that's your thing) but there's a second volume you can get that has those. An introduction includes comparisons of other translations (Burton and Payne) and Haddawy's does read better than both in those specific examples (I can't speak for the whole texts, because it's been a while).

And yes, the language is more modern, but that's not such a bad thing in my view.
Last edit: 30 Jul 2009 00:09 by rocketkiwi.

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30 Jul 2009 08:34 #36642 by ubarose
Thanks rocketkiwi.

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30 Jul 2009 08:49 - 30 Jul 2009 09:15 #36644 by Merkles
rocketkiwi wrote:

The Haddawy translation is the most readable I've encountered so far. It doesn't include stories that weren't part of the early manuscript it's based on (so no Sinbad, Aladdin, or Ali-Baba if that's your thing) but there's a second volume you can get that has those. An introduction includes comparisons of other translations (Burton and Payne) and Haddawy's does read better than both in those specific examples (I can't speak for the whole texts, because it's been a while).

Thanks!

And yes, the language is more modern, but that's not such a bad thing in my view.


I actually prefer a more modern approach to translations---19th Century Victorian translations are too flowery and hard to read.

Examples of type of translations that I like:

The new(er) version of Don Quixote , by Edith Grossman is great (the humor comes through far more than any other version I've read).

Or the translations of the Polish works starting with With Fire and Sword by Henryk Sienkiewicz amazon link ] If you haven't read these stories that are a mixture of US Western adventure and European adventure (books that are at heart of Polish nationalism and a GREAT, fun read), you should. Heck, a great game could be made out of these. The narrative pulls you through the entire story.

Those are the types of translations that I love--one that pulls the English reader into the story as if they were a native speaker. Sometimes that means adding things to give a sense of mood that can't be conveyed with a direct translation.
Last edit: 30 Jul 2009 09:15 by Merkles.

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10 Sep 2009 14:03 #40945 by Almalik
Quick question: If I've got the Lane translation from way back, is it worth getting a copy of the Burton or Haddaway version? How much was censored by Lane?

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10 Sep 2009 14:16 #40947 by Merkles
Almalik wrote:

Quick question: If I've got the Lane translation from way back, is it worth getting a copy of the Burton or Haddaway version? How much was censored by Lane?


I've just started reading the Haddaway version...then reading a few passages against the Burton version. The Burton version (published mid 20th century) is more -- how shall we say -- family friendly. The Haddaway version is more direct with the sex scenes as opposed to Burton's oblique references. Also the Haddaway version is in two books, if I remember correctly, the one I have doesn't have Aladdin, Sinbad, etc...

I have enjoyed reading the Haddaway version so far, though!

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11 Sep 2009 14:36 #41014 by Protoss
In the rule book for the new Z-man version, they also recommend a translation by Dawood (Penguin). Anyone know how this translation compares to the already mentioned ones?

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