An insightful examination of a significant literary work and the fraught complexities of translation.




From its origin, the Thousand and One Nights has been frequently translated, embellished, and transformed.

In his debut book, a fascinating work of cultural and literary history, Horta (Literature/New York Univ. Abu Dhabi) investigates the transmutations of the influential collection of Arabic tales, purportedly invented by Shahrazad to distract her husband, King Shahriyar, from murdering young women in his kingdom. In the second half of the eighth century C.E., Horta asserts, the collection was first translated from Persian into Arabic; since then, additional stories have been added by Arabic and European translators, including the familiar “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” and “The Story of Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp.” “The Thousand and One Nights,” writes the author, “must be understood not as a singular work but as an array of texts” that underwent constant interaction with other cultures, which incorporated into the collection “love stories, trickster tales, historical epics, tales of the supernatural, animal fables, and tales of heroic journeys to foreign lands.” Eventually, it became “one of the key texts in the emergence of world literature in French and English.” Horta focuses on several significant translators: Antoine Galland, the first French translator of the tales; Pre-Raphaelite poet John Payne; British Orientalist Edward William Lane; and the intrepid explorer Richard Francis Burton, who disguised himself as a Muslim pilgrim to travel to Mecca and Medina in 1853. Besides offering a close reading of the translations, Horta draws on a memoir by Diyab, a Syrian traveler who told the stories of Aladdin and Ali Baba to Galland; Lane’s notebooks and correspondence; and drafts of Burton’s translation. These sources reveal “partnerships and rivalries” that shaped each translator’s text. In investigating Diyab’s influence, for example, Horta notes, “the context of amorality and violence that characterized Diyad’s travels survives in these tales even after Galland’s stylish adaptation of the stories to meet French expectations of an Oriental tale.”

An insightful examination of a significant literary work and the fraught complexities of translation.

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-674-54505-2

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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