A note on the title of the book

The Arabian Nights, translated by Malcolm Lyons (Volume 1)
The Arabian Nights, translated by Malcolm Lyons (Volume 1)

I’m going to post my first recap tomorrow.

Throughout this project, I will refer to the book I am reading as The Arabian Nights. Yes, I know that is only one of its possible names. It might also be called The Arabian Nights Entertainments, The Thousand and One Nights, or The Book of A Thousand Nights and a Night.

In any case, the book’s ‘real’ name is ‘Alf layla wa-layla.

أَلْف لَيْلَة وَلَيْلَة‎

I also know that to describe the stories as ‘Arabian’ is a something of a misnomer when the collection apparently includes stories set in China, India, the Levant, North Africa, Persia, and Turkey, and therefore features plenty characters who do not speak Arabic.

However, set against all this is the fact that the version I will be reading – the three-volume Penguin Classics edition published in 2010 – is a translation from Arabic, and is formally published as The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1,001 Nights. I’d rather not keep typing all that, so for simplicity’s sake, I will just refer to it as The Arabian Nights in my recaps, for now at least. If anyone feels strongly that I should not do that, then please let me know.

Frontispiece from 'The Arabian Nights Entertainments' illustrated by Louis Rhead
Frontispiece from ‘The Arabian Nights Entertainments’ illustrated by Louis Rhead

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