Arabian Nights

For some reason, I was recently possessed with a desire to pick up my copy of The Arabian Nights. Of course, that copy has to be the translation by the nineteenth century explorer, adventurer, writer, and libertine – Richard Burton. Nothing else will do.

No other translation dies so deeply into thick, decadent language. It’s like thick, sexy syrup. And it is so very sexy. As a child, I was put into giggles and delight by the sheer number of synonyms he found for sex and kissing (‘bus’ and ‘futtering’ being my two favorites). It’s like Scott Moncrieff’s Remembrance of Things Past. I may accept that it is not really the most accurate translation and that it may miss many clear stylistic authorial intentions, but it’s old fashioned rhythms are so much better on the tongue than the other English options.

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