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Invitation to World Literature


Recommended Translations & Editions

EditionsAbout these Editions

Husain Haddawy, The Arabian Nights (Norton, 1990), and The Arabian Nights II: Sindbad and Other Popular Stories (Everyman's Library, 1995).



A lively and careful contemporary translation. The first volume is based on the early Syrian version of the Tales, while the second volume gives the best-loved later tales.

N. J. Dawood, Tales from the Thousand and One Nights (Penguin, 1973)


An excellent translation by an Iraqi scholar from England, including later as well as earlier stories and the full frame tale, not found in Haddawy.

J. C. Mardrus and Powys Mather, trans., The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night.


The best English translation, in eight volumes, of a version of the full Egyptian text.

Sir Richard Burton, A Plain and Literal Translation of The Arabian Nights Entertainment (sixteen volumes, privately printed, 1885-88; the full text is available in e-book form and on several internet sites).

Anything but plain or literal, Burton's over-the-top version seriously tried to invent a quasi-medieval English suited to his vision of the Oriental splendor of the original.