The Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night, Vol 1 Page-10

The Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night, Vol 1

A plain and literal translation of the arabian nights entertainments

Briefly, the object of this version is to show what “The Thousand Nights and a Night” really is. Not, however, for reasons to be more fully stated in the Terminal Essay, by straining verbum reddere verbo, but by writing as the Arab would have written in English. On this point I am all with Saint Jerome (Pref. in Jobum) “Vel verbum e verbo, vel sensum e sensu, vel ex utroque commixtum, et medic temperatum genus translationis.” My work claims to be a faithful copy of the great Eastern Saga book, by preserving intact, not only the spirit, but even the m�canique, the manner and the matter. Hence, however prosy and long drawn out be the formula, it retains the scheme of The Nights because they are a prime feature in the original. The R�w� or reciter, to whose wits the task of supplying details is left, well knows their value: the openings carefully repeat the names of the dramatic personae and thus fix them in the hearer’s memory. Without the Nights no Arabian Nights! Moreover it is necessary to retain the whole apparatus: nothing more ill advised than Dr. Jonathan Scott’s strange device of garnishing The Nights with fancy head pieces and tail pieces or the splitting up of Galland’s narrative by merely prefixing “Nuit,” etc., ending moreover, with the ccxxxivth Night: yet this has been done, apparently with the consent of the great Arabist Sylvestre de Sacy (Paris, Ernest Bourdin). Moreover, holding that the translator’s glory is to add something to his native tongue, while avoiding the hideous hag like nakedness of Torrens and the bald literalism of Lane, I have carefully Englished the picturesque turns and novel expressions of the original in all their outlandishness; for instance, when the dust cloud raised by a tramping host is described as “walling the horizon.” Hence peculiar attention has been paid to the tropes and figures which the Arabic language often packs into a single term; and I have never hesitated to coin a word when wanted, such as “she snorted and sparked,” fully to represent the original. These, like many in Rabelais, are mere barbarisms unless generally adopted; in which case they become civilised and common currency. Despite objections manifold and manifest, I have preserved the balance of sentences and the prose rhyme and rhythm which Easterns look upon as mere music. This “Saj’a,” or cadence of the cooing dove, has in Arabic its special duties. It adds a sparkle to description and a point to proverb, epigram and dialogue; it corresponds with our “artful alliteration” (which in places I have substituted for it) and, generally, it defines the boundaries between the classical