Arabian Nights Entertainments by Volume editor Robert L. Mack
No other edition offers extensive textual apparatus such as explanatory notes, plot summaries, particularly vital as stories are complex and interwoven. The Sultan Schahriar's misguided resolution to shelter himself from the possible infidelities on his wives leads to an outbreak of barbarity in his kingdoms and a reign of terror in his court, stopped only by the resourceful Scheherazade. The tales with which Scheherazade nightly postpones the muderous intent of the sultan have entered our language and our lives like no other collection of narratives before or since. Sinbad, Aladdin, Ali Baba: all make their spectacular entrance on to the stage of English literary history in the Arabian Nights Entertainments (1704-17). The stories contained in this 'store house of ingenious fiction' initiate a pattern of literary reference and influence which today remains as powerful and intense as it was throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This edition reproduces in its entirety the earliest English translation of the French orientalist Antoine Galland's Mille et une Nuits. This remained for over a century the only English translation of the story cycle, influencing an incalculable number of writers, and no other edition offers the complete text supplemented by full textual apparatus.