Saturday, July 24, 2010

Free Online Versions of the Nights

I'm going to add to this over time (and put a link to this page on the main blog menu on the right) as I come across them but this page is a list of links to freely accessible well known versions of the 1001 Nights.

English Versions:

- - This website has complete versions of the following: 1. Richard Burton's complete 16 volume set (including hyperlinked footnotes), 2. Jonathan Scott's 1890 version, 3. JW Scott's Jack Hardin's Arabian Nights (1903), 4. John Payne's 9 volume Nights, his Tales from the Arabic and his Alaeddin, 5. WF Kirby's The New Arabian Nights (1883), 6. Andrew Lang's Arabian Nights (1898), 7. Edward Lane's Arabian Nights (1909 - edited by Stanley Lane-Poole), 8. E. Dixon's Fairy Tales from the Arabian Nights (1893) and More Tales (1895) and several other derivative versions and single stories. The best source for English versions online and collected in one place.


- Little Hunchback. From the Arabian Nights Entertainments. In Three Cantos (1817). This is a three canto poem derived from the Hunchback story of the Nights, published first in London, England.



Las mil y una noches - Translated by Vicente Blasco Ibanez. According to the Arabian Nights Encyclopedia the author Gabriel Garcia Marquez is said to have been inspired by this particular version (p. 561 vol. 2).


Arabic Versions:

Calcutta II online

Thanks to Moti (> for passing on the online version of Calcutta II of the Arabian Nights (1001 Nights) linked below, free and complete and in Arabic with a nice looking script too.

Unfortunately the book is scanned backwards! And it starts with the last page!

I'll try to contact Google books about it.

Here is the link to the Calcutta II online version:

Bulaq - 

Here is the 1863 Bulak Edition of Alf Laila wa Laila complete and online for free (in Arabic):

Volume one:

Volume two:


Volume three:


Voume four:



  1. A copy of The Little Hunchback, in Three Cantos is also available on the Wollamshram site. I'm also working on a copy of Arabian Tales by Dom Chavis and M. Cazotte, English translation by Robert Heron. Volume 1 should be ready by the end of August.


  2. Thanks for the comment and great website JC!

  3. Thanks for your work on the Nights. I inherited a complete copy of the Mardrus/Mathers translation and am currently working on a free online repository of the poems I found there. To understand the significance of this, consider the following verse as translated by Burton:
    > She rose like the morn as she shone through the night * And she gilded the grove with her gracious sight:
    > From her radiance the sun taketh increase when * She unveileth and shameth the moonshine bright.
    > Bow down all beings between her hands * As she showeth charms with her veil undight.
    > And she foodeth cities with torrent tears * When she flasheth her look of levee light.
    with the M/M version:
    She comes, a torch in the shadows, and it is day;
    Her light more brightly lights the dawn.
    Suns leap from out her beauty
    And moons are born in the smiling of her eyes.
    Ah, that the veils of her mystery might be rent
    And the folk of the world lie ravished at her feet.
    Forced by the great light of her sweet glancing,
    Wet tears smart forth from every watching eye.
    There are currently 68 readings posted at representing Book 1 of 16. I hope to be able to finish this project before the end of next year. Feedback welcome!

  4. Just an update of my comment from a year ago: I've completed recording all the poetry from the Mathers version of the Arabian Nights. There are 636 poems ranging from around fifteen seconds up to more than four minutes, most in the range of 30 - 60 seconds. Along the way, I cleaned up my diction, learned a lot about editing sound files, and wore out a perfectly good microphone. I hope you'll enjoy these little gems as much as I have: