Friday, February 26, 2016

Galland and The Thousand and One Nights

From Catherine Curzon:
Whilst visiting Constantinople towards the end of the 17th century, the intrepid Gallard came into possession of a manuscript of The Tale of Sindbad the Sailor. Impressed by the thrilling narrative, he published a successful translation of the story in 1701 that enjoyed immediate success in his native land. 

Recognising the financial possibilities of the public's interest in such tales, he set about a translation of a 14th-century Syrian manuscript of tales from Mille et Une Nuit  or, in English, One Thousand and One Nights. This translation would eventually become a hugely influential twelve-volume masterwork some 13 years in publication, with the concluding volume appearing posthumously.

Gallard's work on the manuscript was further supplemented by more stories that were related to him by Hanna Diab, a monk from Aleppo. Diab shared a number of tales to the author that were incorporated into later volumes of his One Thousand and One Nights series. Some of Galland's stories appear to be of somewhat dubious origin and no Arabic manuscripts have been found that tell the tales of Ali Baba or Aladdin, leading to speculation that the enterprising Galland made these up himself! (Read more.)

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