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Richard Francis Burton
(translator)

The Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night

(10 volumes, with 6 supplemental volumes)

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Download The Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night PDF sample

(This sample contains the first half of Volume One and the Conclusion from Volume Ten.)

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You can find scanned copies of the printed volumes at
www.burtoniana.org/books/1885-Arabian Nights

For John Payne’s translation, see
en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Book_of_the_Thousand_Nights_and_One_Night

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About the Author

Richard Francis Burton was a man of an exceptional range of interests and achievements; traveler, explorer, adventurer, soldier, and diplomat. Speaking 29 European, Asian and African languages, he was a linguist, ethnologist and orientalist, as well as a writer and translator. Always outspoken, notorious for his interests in all matters of sexuality, never one to conform to conventional rules of social behavior, and, for what is known, possessed by an irascible temper, he was surrounded by rumors of scandal and violence, and thus never was promoted to military or diplomatic rank that would have fully matched his merits.

Burton was born on March 19th, 1821, in Devon, as son of a British army officer and his wealthy wife; during Burton’s childhood and youth, the family traveled between England, France and Italy, during which time Burton learned French, Italian, Latin, and several local dialects.

In 1840 Burton enrolled in Trinity College at Oxford, from where he was expelled two years later. Here is not the place to describe in any detail the adventurous life on which Burton then embarked; it included military service in India (1842–49), a pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina disguised as a Pakistani Muslim pilgrim (1853), an expedition to Ethiopia where he was the first European to enter the town of Harar (1854), army service in the Crimean War (1855), together with John Hanning Speke an expedition, funded by the Royal Geographic Society, into the depths of unexplored Central Africa, (1858), a travel to America (1860), and, after entering the Foreign Service, appointments as Consul to Fernando Po (Equatorial Guinea) from where he explored the West African coast (1861), to Santos in Brazil (1865), to Damascus (1869) and finally to Trieste (1873); he was awarded knighthood (KCGM) in 1886. In 1851 Burton had met his future wife, Isabel Arundell; they married in 1861.

During all his life, Burton used every opportunity to study not only languages, but also people and their cultures, and he wrote extensively about his travels and his studies, some 40 books and hundreds of magazine articles. In addition, he created translations of erotic literature, namely The Arabian Nights, the Kama Sutra, and The Perfumed Garden, at his time considered pornography. To be able to publish them without risking jail, he founded a private society, the Kama Shastra Society, for whose members these books were exclusively printed.

Boldly defying conventional restraints and perceptions, he was nonetheless not free of his own prejudices, rash judgments and obscure notions. But on reading The Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night, there is no doubt how much we owe to Burton’s dedication, matched by his knowledge and his literary skills, to present us with a sweeping and authentic view of this huge timeless treasure, rescuing it from the confinements of the Victorian morals of his age.

Burton died in Trieste on October 20th, 1890, of a heart attack. Isabel, who survived him for several years, never recovered from the loss. She, herself a writer, had been (in his own words) her husband’s “most ardent supporter,” and assisted him with many of his writings. After his death though, believing to act in his interest, she burned many of his papers and unpublished manuscripts, among them a new translation of The Perfumed Garden called The Scented Garden, which she herself regarded to have been his “magnum opus” — a work that is now lost to us. The couple is buried at Mortlake, Surrey, in an elaborate tomb in the shape of a Bedouin tent.

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Download plain text files

Volume 1 – release 1.1a

Volume 2 – release 1.03a

Volume 3 – release 1.02a

Volume 4 – release 1.03a

Volume 5 – release 1.02a

Volume 6 – release 1.01a

Volume 7 – release 1.01a

Volume 8 – release 1.01a

Volume 9 – release 1.0a

Volume 10 – release 1.0

Supplemental volumes:

Volume 11 – release 1.0

Volume 12 – release 1.0

Volume 13 – release 1.01

Volume 14 – release 1.01

Volume 15 – release 1.01

Volume 16 – release 1.0

Download PDF files

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Volume 1 – release 1.1   – 441 pages

Volume 2 – release 1.03 – 417 pages

Volume 3 – release 1.02 – 436 pages

Volume 4 – release 1.03 – 367 pages

Volume 5 – release 1.02 – 486 pages

Volume 6 – release 1.01 – 354 pages

Volume 7 – release 1.01 – 466 pages

Volume 8 – release 1.01 – 415 pages

Volume 9 – release 1.0   – 423 pages

Volume 10 – release 1.0 – 313 pages

Supplemental volumes:

Volume 11 – release 1.0   – 305 pages

Volume 12 – release 1.0   – 260 pages

Volume 13 – release 1.01 – 456 pages

Volume 14 – release 1.01 – 348 pages

Volume 15 – release 1.01 – 419 pages

Volume 16 – release 1.0   – 457 pages

Download ePub files

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Volume 1 – release 1.1

Volume 2 – release 1.03

Volume 3 – release 1.02

Volume 4 – release 1.03

Volume 5 – release 1.02

Volume 6 – release 1.01

Volume 7 – release 1.01

Volume 8 – release 1.01

Volume 9 – release 1.0

Volume 10 – release 1.0

Supplemental volumes:

Volume 11 – release 1.0

Volume 12 – release 1.0

Volume 13 – release 1.01

Volume 14 – release 1.01

Volume 15 – release 1.01

Volume 16 – release 1.0

Download Mobi files

(requires free Library Card)

Volume 1 – release 1.1

Volume 2 – release 1.03

Volume 3 – release 1.02

Volume 4 – release 1.03

Volume 5 – release 1.02

Volume 6 – release 1.01

Volume 7 – release 1.01

Volume 8 – release 1.01

Volume 9 – release 1.0

Volume 10 – release 1.0

Supplemental volumes:

Volume 11 – release 1.0

Volume 12 – release 1.0

Volume 13 – release 1.01

Volume 14 – release 1.01

Volume 15 – release 1.01

Volume 16 – release 1.0

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