He and he alone put into English the , in their most complete form, and he did it with self-taught Arabic, having never travelled in the East.
He went on, in subsequent years, to translate four supplementary volumes of tales from the other manuscript traditions of the : a magnificent example of scholarly acumen and dedication.
Tartars, Persians, and Indians, than is to be met with in any Author hitherto published. Galland was translated, anonymously, into English almost as soon as his volumes started to appear, and (variously supplemented) his translation provided the basis for all subsequent English versions until Lane's translation began to appear in 1838.
It's no exaggeration to call Galland a storytelling genius.
For this reason, his text is little read today, though it has had almost as great an influence as Galland's on subsequent bowdlerised retellings for children (Andrew Lang's included).
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Lane's is the last version of the which could be called at all suitable for children.Galland (it seems a pleasing coincidence that the first translation into a European language turns out to have been made from the oldest extant manuscript). So do you want the oldest and most elaborate version: the sadly truncated and incomplete Ms. Or would you prefer the hybrid, textually dubious, but incredibly capacious Z. By my count, then, Malcolm Lyons' new 3-volumed, 2,700-page substantial translation into English - leaving aside for a moment all the innumerable abridgements and retellings.But by far the fullest collection of stories available under the title of is represented by the various texts of Z. I thought I might list them below, along with any currently-available editions of them in print, in order to underline the significance and timeliness of Lyons' achievement.into English, despite the bewildering number of selections, retellings, adaptations and other attempts at a solution to the problematic nature of the book itself which have appeared over the past couple of centuries. With the appearance of this new, complete Penguin translation by Malcolm C.Lyons - introduced and partially annotated by Robert Irwin, author of , and with new translations of "Aladdin" and "Ali Baba" from the French by Ursula Lyons - the situation suddenly looks much brighter. There's a brand-new translation in French, just out from the Bibliotheque de la Pleiade; thorough, reliable versions in German and Italian - even in Russian and Czech. The medieval Arabic encyclopedists who mention the collection say that it was originally translated from Persian into Arabic (and the names Sharazad and Shahryar only make sense in Persian, which tends to substantiate the claim).The last substantial revision and reediting of it was by Lane's nephew Stanley Lane-Poole in the early twentieth century, once available in a beautiful little pocket edition from Bohn's Library: Tales from the Arabic of the Breslau and Calcutta (1814-’18) Editions of the Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night, Not Occurring in the Other Printed Texts of the Work; Now First Done into English (conflated from the Bulaq and Macnaghten texts) for private circulation only.It's alleged that he did most of his work whilst travelling around London on the roof of a horse-drawn bus, glancing up from time to time to make sure that the weather wasn't going to damage his precious dictionaries and manuscripts.That is if, like me - and, I guess, professional storytellers such as Derek - you're a fanatic for everything to do with the (so-called) [Book of a Thousand Nights and a Night]). The Persians may (or may not) have derived the frame-story of the from a lost Sanskrit version - opinions differ on that point.In any case, none of these earlier texts survive, but enough information about them remains to convince us that they can have contained only a very few (if any) even of the stories which have come down to us as the solid core of the collection: "The Merchant and the Jinni," "The Fisherman and the Jinni," "The three Ladies of Baghdad" and (of course) the immortal "Tale of the Hunchback."The collection as we have it seems imbued with the spirit of Islam, and myriad everyday details of life in Baghdad and Cairo.The Persian , however, certainly predated the Arabic conquest, and some critics have suggested that this pre-Islamic strand is still discernible in the independent wilfulness displayed by the various Jinnis and supernatural creatures in the first few stories of the , with a frame-story something like the Scheherazade-Shahryar one we're all familiar with, extant in the Arabic language since at least the ninth century.The earliest substantial manuscript of this collection is, however, the 14th-century Ms. As Winnie the Pooh put it, when asked to choose between having jam and honey on his bread, "Both, please, but forget about the bread." Husain Haddawy gave us a beautiful and elegant translation of Muhsin Mahdi's critical edition of the Ms. Malcolm Lyons now supplies us with the missing part of the puzzle: a complete and accurate version of the Macnaghten edition into clear, current English.