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First Arabic edition of Persian stories often added to the Arabian Nights

[Bakhtiyar Namah.] Knös, Gustav (ed.). [Kitab Qissat al-`asr wuzara wa-ma gara lahum ma`a ibn al-malik Azad Baht]. Historia decem vezirorum et filii regis Azad Bacht insertis undecim aliis narrationibus.

Göttingen, Heinrich Dieterich, 1807.

8vo. 114, (10) pp. With swelled rules on the general title-page and a couple other pages. Contemporary half calf over marbled boards with gilt arms of the Östgöta Nation on upper cover; gilt spine title.

First Arabic edition of a series of Persian tales known as "Bakhtiyar-namah", a frame story deriving partly from the ancient Sanskrit Panchatantra (known in Arabic as Bidpai) and often added as a supplement to the Arabian Nights. It was published in French as "Nouveaux contes Arabes, ou Supplement aux Mille et une nuits" (Paris 1788), and William Owseley produced an English and Persian edition as" The Bakhtiyar Nameh, or, Story of Prince Bakhtiyar and the Ten Viziers" (London 1801). The present edition is based on an Arabic manuscript discovered in Cairo: a Latin translation with annotations followed (in dissertation form) in 1814. It is an elegant little book, well-printed on excellent laid paper with a very slight greenish cast. The Swedish scholar Gustaf Knös (1773-1828) studied in Göttingen and (under Silvestre de Sacy) in Paris. He held the Uppsala chair of oriental languages from 1814 until 1828. He is best known for his large Syriac chrestomathy and his present edition of the Bakhtiyar-namah. Later, following a spiritual crisis, Knös lost all interest in philology and produced no more publications.

The pages of the main text, in Arabic type, progress from right to left like an Arabic book, beginning with an Arabic title-page without imprint, but the 8 pages of the prelims in Latin progress from left to right like a Western book, beginning with a general title-page with imprint, so that the book can be opened from either side.

The appealing binding is insignificantly rubbed; some unobtrusive browning throughout. Deaccessioned from the "Östgöta Nations bibliotek" at Uppsala University with stamp to front pastedown. A lovely and elegant first Arabic edition of a famous set of Persian tales.

Chauvin VIII, p. 13 (note). Schnurrer 419. Brill, EI1, II, 603. Kayser III, 371. NYPL Arabia coll. 193. OCLC 186765709.