Rare, early English edition

[Alf layla wa-layla - English]. Arabian Nights Entertainments. Consisting of One Thousand and One Stories [...]. The twelfth edition.

London, for T. Longman, 1767.

12mo. 4 vols. (12), 320 pp. 314, (2) pp. 301, (3) pp. 312 pp. Contemporary full mottled calf, spine, covers and leading edges gilt.


A rare, early English edition based on Galland's liberal but highly influential French translation. Adapted to Parisian tastes, it had been first published in 12 volumes between 1704 and 1717. "Even before the last of Galland's volumes had been published in France, some of his stories had been translated into English and were circulating as cheap chap-books on the popular market" (R. Irwin, The Arabian Nights: A Companion, p. 19). "Galland's translation [...] was quickly translated into English and German. It enjoyed a most remarkable success throughout Europe, perceptible even in children's literature, and contributed significantly to the new image which enlightened Europeans entertained of the Islamic East: after Galland, this was no longer the home of the Antichrist and of accursed heresy, but rather the ever-constant Orient beneath an eternally fair sky, boasting splendid colours and unheard-of wealth, Caliphs, Viziers, and Kadis, harems, fairy-tale princes, fairies and genies, sorcerers and sages, a world of fantastic adventure and outrageous incidents" (cf. Fück, p. 101).

Hinges and spines professionally repaired in places. Light browning and reading marks; old auction lot ticket on vol. 2; clean cuts into the side of three leaves of vol. 4 (no loss to text). A well-preserved set with the blocks intact, all the same edition and uniformly bound. Only three copies listed via COPAC (British Library; Trinity College, Connecticut; Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania).


ESTC N15877. OCLC 504545353. Cf. Chauvin IV, 185 D (1713: 4th ed.), 185 G (1769); 185 L (1778: 14th ed.).

Stock Code: BN#49431 Tags: ,