This is a strange and vague article (or press release?) about the Nights from the Wall Street Journal of all places. I'm not sure of the point of it but it does mention the recent English edition from Malcolm Lyons.
As a side note, the author says that Edward Said spends little time on the Nights in Orientalism which is quite a false claim, Said spends most of the first part of his book focusing on Galland, Lane and Burton.
This author also calls Burton's edition "practically unreadable"! (this is what I've heard about it from just about everyone who mentions the Nights and knows about Burton, I suspect that it's one of those tall tales that make their way around and also suspect that many of the people saying this about Burton's edition haven't actually tried to read it)...
He also says: ""The Arabian Nights" has long had a bad reputation among Arab intellectuals for its vulgarity, perceived shallowness and general lack of moral uplift." This is fairly false as well, though it seemed like a true statement in the 10th century, but scholars all over the Middle East are re-interested in the Nights:
entire article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204886304574308744212027048.html
excerpts of the article:
By JAMIE JAMES
It surprises us to learn that Charles Dickens made more allusions to "The Arabian Nights" than any other work of literature—but it shouldn't. Shahrazad, the narrator of "The Arabian Nights' Entertainment," or "Tales of 1001 Nights," has inspired great storytellers for centuries. As a treasure-house of characters and stories, the "Nights" is an essential point of reference for popular entertainments ranging from British pantomime to Romantic ballet and opera to Hollywood spectacle.
The key to its lasting popularity and influence is that it's all about the story. The anonymous bards whose tales are collected in the book's thousands of pages espoused no ideology and preached no religious message. Princes play the villain as often as they are praised. The book's pedigree is cosmopolitan, with tales drawn from India and Persia as well as Arabic sources; scholars believe the Aladdin story is actually European in origin.
Reading "The Arabian Nights" is like visiting a medieval lending library. Stories are embedded within stories like Russian dolls, encompassing every narrative genre from instructive fable to swashbuckling adventure to diaphanously veiled pornography. It wasn't translated into a modern European language until Antoine Galland's French version began to appear in 1704, and then took all Europe by storm. "Read Sinbad and you will be sick of Aeneas," wrote Horace Walpole, 18th-century England's whimsical tale-spinner and author of the first Gothic novel. (Walpole coined the word "serendipity" from Serendib, the old name for Sri Lanka, to capture the aura of enchantment of the island—which he read about in the sixth voyage of Sinbad.)
Until recently, the standard English version was Sir Richard Burton's practically unreadable translation of 1885. Thus in the 20th century "The Arabian Nights" became best-known in simplified adventure stories for children. Adults imbibed Shahrazad's tales in a stream of popular adaptations in every conceivable medium and genre.
To restore this classic page-turner to the world's reading list, last year Penguin in London published a captivating new translation by Malcolm Lyons in a magnificent three-volume set. Penguin USA is planning to bring out a one-volume paperback abridgment of the Lyons translation.
For all its bizarre monsters and miraculous goings-on, the world of "The Arabian Nights" is instantly recognizable as our own. At the conclusion of each of his perilous voyages, Sinbad rejoices at his return to Baghdad, where he eats home cooking and drinks good wine with his boon companions. The perspective is populist and secular: The protagonists of most of the tales aren't great princes but wily merchants and clever young laborers. Religion plays a smaller role in "The Arabian Nights" than it does in medieval Christian epics; its characters rarely pray except when in a jam. Women frequently play the hero, rescuing their hapless aristocratic masters with cunning stratagems.
"The Arabian Nights" has long had a bad reputation among Arab intellectuals for its vulgarity, perceived shallowness and general lack of moral uplift. Yet the tales capture an essential quality of the Arab soul: passionate self-romancing. Edward Said's influential book "Orientalism" (1978) warns modern readers to be skeptical of falsely romantic views of the East propagated by Western writers and painters. He scarcely mentions "The Arabian Nights," possibly because it undermines his basic premise; but no Western view of the East, however fanciful, could possibly exceed it for perfumed glamour. The most seductive quality of the stories is Shahrazad's serene conviction that her audience will follow her anywhere. And we do.
—Mr. James is the author of "The Snake Charmer" (Hyperion 2008).