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Charles Knight and Co, London 1839 - 254 x 165 mm (10 x 6 1/2"). Three volumes. Translated and annotated by Edward William Lane. FIRST EDITION IN BOOK FORM. Pleasing late 19th century crimson half morocco, raised bands, gilt-ruled compartments with central ornament of a gilt rosette within a star, marbled pastedowns, top edges gilt. With more than 300 wood engravings from the designs of William Harvey. Front pastedowns with the bookplate of William John Watson. Volume I with translator's "Advertisement" giving the spelling and pronunciation of various Arabic words. Corners to two volumes ever so slightly rubbed, front free endpapers with faint offset from bookplate, occasional rust spots, a few isolated margin smudges, but a really excellent copy with few signs of wear inside or out. Originally issued from 1838-41 in 32 parts and with copious notes, this is the original appearance in book form of what is generally acknowledged to be the first accurate translation into English of the classic story of Scheherazade. Probably derived from Egyptian and Persian origins, the "Arabian Nights' Entertainment," or "The Thousand and One Nights," has as its framework the story of a king who kills successive wives on the morning after the consummation of their marriage. The fatal pattern is broken by the wily Scheherazade, who enthralls her husband (and the reader) with stories so pleasing that her life is spared. Lane (1801-76) went to Egypt as a young man to improve his health, arriving at a time when serious European study of the region had just begun. Immediately caught up in the culture, he produced an elaborately detailed description of Egypt and its people and later a monumental Arabic dictionary 25 years in the making. In between he did the present translation of the "Arabian Nights." His translation omitted some of the stories that in England would have been thought too vulgar, but he was well qualified to enrich the book with notes that give an understanding of Muslim life. This edition also represents one of the most ambitious projects undertaken by Harvey (1796-1866), a famous pupil of Bewick and (at least in Houfe's estimation) the most popular British illustrator of the 1840s. [Attributes: Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Phillip J. Pirages Rare Books (ABAA)]
Last Found On: 2015-10-11           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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