The Translators of "The Thousand and One Nights"  

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"Another fact is undeniable. The most famous and eloquent encomiums of The Thousand and One Nights - by Coleridge, Thomas de Quincey, Stendhal, Tennyson, Edgar Allan Poe, Newman - are from readers of Galland's translation. Two hundred years and ten better translations have passed, but the man in Europe or the Americas who thinks of the Thousand and One Nights thinks, invariably of this first translation. The Spanish adjective milyunanochesco [thousand-and-one-nights-esque] ... has nothing to do with the erudite obscenities of Burton or Mardrus, and everything to do with Antoine Galland's bijoux and sorceries." --"The Translators of "The Thousand and One Nights"" (1934) by Jorge Luis Borges


Lane translated against Galland, Burton against Lane; to understand Burton we must understand this hostile dynasty." --"The Translators of "The Thousand and One Nights"" (1934) by Jorge Luis Borges


"Mardrus' destiny is a paradoxical one. To him has been ascribed the moral virtue of being the most truthful translator of The Thousand and One Nights, a book of admirable lascivity, whose purchasers were previously hoodwinked by Galland's good manners and Lane's Puritan qualms." --"The Translators of "The Thousand and One Nights"" (1934) by Jorge Luis Borges


"The Fihrist narrates the opening tale of the series; the king's heartbroken oath that every night he will wed a virgin whom he will have beheaded at dawn, and the resolution of Scheherazade, who diverts him with marvelous stories until a thousand nights have revolved over the two of them and she shows him his son. This invention-far superior to the future and analogous devices of Chaucer's pious cavalcade or Giovanni Boccaccio's epidemic." --"The Translators of "The Thousand and One Nights"" (1934) by Jorge Luis Borges

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

"The Translators of "The Thousand and One Nights" (1934, Spanish: "Los traductores de "Las mil y una noches"") is a text by Jorge Luis Borges.

Contents

Publishing history

It was first published in Revista Multicolor de los Sábados, the Saturday supplement to the newspaper Diario Crítica, March 10, 1934 and later anthologized in Historia de la eternidad (1936).

Contents

The text deals with the translations of One Thousand and One Nights in the English, French and German languages.

Borges cites Edward William Lane's who says that he is unable to expurgate some fragments “because they cannot be purified without destruction.”

Borges cites many passages left out by Lane and replaced by comments such as "I shall overlook an episode of the most reprehensible sort; I suppress a repugnant explanation; Here, a line far too coarse for translation; I must of necessity suppress the other anecdote; Hereafter, a series of omissions; Here, the story of the slave Bujait, wholly inappropriate for translation."

The essay mentions the term obscene 8 times.

"The ancient love stories of the repertory, those which relate cases from the desert or the cities of Arabia, are not obscene, and neither is any production of pre-Islamic literature."

The terms lascivity, ribald and lowbrow are mentioned 1 time each. The term erotic twice.

It consists of the following chapters:

Full text[1]

See also




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