Long-Lost Watercolors Of '1001 Nights' Bring New Life To Age-Old Tales
"In the early 20th century, artists experimented with color and less realistic dimensions, and mixed the worlds of Eastern and Western mythologies. Danish illustrator Kay Nielsen, working in Europe during World War I, finished his own evocative version ofA Thousand and One Nights. His mysticism-tinted take on the Arabian stories pushed visual storytelling to new heights.
Nielsen filled his illustrations with expressionist, nearly surrealist characters and whimsical landscapes, breaking the boundaries of what visual storytelling was supposed to look like. His use of bright reds and deep blues, of golden leaves and detailed floral elements, hinted at a mix of Asian folklore and Arab iconography, make of his work a revolutionary body of visual art.
But the illustrations were never published, and the watercolor images remained tucked away for more than 40 years. They were rescued from oblivion after Nielsen's death in 1957 and sat unused for another 60 — until now."
More on the story, the new book and reproductions of the artwork -
A dynamic French-Syrian translator, lauded for
her lively poetic voice, tackles the enchanted
world of Aladdin in this sparkling new translation.
Long defined by popular film adaptations that have reductively portrayed Aladdin
as a simplistic rags-to-riches story for children, this work of
dazzling imagination—and occasionally dark themes—finally comes to
vibrant new life. “In the capital of one of China’s vast and wealthy
kingdoms,” begins Shahrazad— the tale’s imperiled-yet-ingenious
storyteller—there lived Aladdin, a rebellious fifteen-year-old who falls
prey to a double-crossing sorcerer and is ultimately saved by the ruse
of a princess.
One of the best-loved folktales of all time, Aladdin
has been capturing the imagination of readers, illustrators, and
filmmakers since an eighteenth-century French publication first added
the tale to The Arabian Nights. Yet, modern English translators
have elided the story’s enchanting whimsy and mesmerizing rhythms. Now,
translator Yasmine Seale and literary scholar Paulo Lemos Horta offer
an elegant, eminently readable rendition of Aladdin in what is destined to be a classic for decades to come.