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zosischen ind. Tales,
Der Tausend und einen nacht noch nicht übersezte
Mahrchen Erzahlungen und Anecdoten, zum ersten male aus dem Arabischen in's Franzosische übersext von Joseph Von Hammer; und aus dem Franzosischen in's Deutsche von Aug. E. Zinserling. Erster-Bund. Tales, Narratives and Anecdotes of the Thousand and One Nights, now first translated from Arabic into French, by J. Von Hammer
and from French into German by Professor Zinserling. Vol. Ist.
Nights, now moi
A complete version of the Arabian Night's Entertainments, is yet a desideratum in literature : the original translation by Galland, from which the works so long popular were derived, comprehended but 282 out of the Thousand and One Nights, and even that included many stories, not found in any manuscript, yet discovered. Various attempts have been since made to supply the deficiency, especially by Scott and Caussin de Perceval, but we are yet far from being in possession of the larger part of the collection. The object of the present publication, is to supply the want, and give the world an entire translation of the Thousand and One Nights; a design we may be allowed to expect, little calculated to enhance the reputation of the original, as it will, to judge from the specimen before us, chiefly multiply tales and anecdotes of an insignificant and uninteresting character. Galland performed his task with great judgement, and taste, and although we cannot doubt, that amidst the mass of matter, that remains untranslated, there will be something valuable, yet we are satisfied, that we have in the greater part of the first translation, a choice of stories, the merits of which are not likely to be surpassed.
The chief reason, however, why the translations have been confined to a limited number of stories, has no doubt, been the difficulty of procuring the original complete. It might be conjectured indeed, that these tales being preserved and communicated principally by the professional story tellers of the Levant, the Thousand and One Nights, as a complete work, never had existence.--this does not appear to be the case, and although there are very great varieties, both in the stories, and in their arrangement, and no two copies agree precisely in either respect, yet the frame work is the same; the principal tales occur in most copies, and there is consequently so far a general coincidence, that the different transcripts may be regarded as represent. ing a common original, however that original may be diversified by late alterations and additions.
The manuscripts, that are known to exist in Eu. rope are according to our author, twelve in number--. they are the following.
The copy from which Galland made his translation containing, as above observed, 282 nights. This is in the Royal Library of Paris. Galland added many stories to his translation derived from other sources, as those of Sindbad, Aladdin, Ali Baba, &c. · The Paris Library contains another copy, which extends to 870 nights in 27 portions, ten of which however are wanting • The third copy, which is much fuller even than the last, was procured by Mr. Montague in Turkey, and was bought by Captain Scott from Dr. White of Ox. ford. The contents of this collection in seven volumes are described in the 2d volume of Ouseley's Oriental Miscellany. Captain Scott possessed also a fragment procured in India, and from these copies he translated several of the stories, some of which were published in the Oriental Miscellany, and some in a separate form, under the title, Tales, Anecdotes and Letters translated from the Arabic and Persian, 1800. He has since added the Tales with others to an edition of the Arabian Nights in 6 volumes, the last volume of which consists entirely of new matter..
Dr. Russell's manuscript of which an account was given by him in the Gentleman's Magazine for Febru. ary 1795, is the fifth in this enumeration : it was ob.
tained by him at Aleppo, and contains but 280 nights.
The sixth copy belonged to Sir William Jones.
The seventh containing but 200 nights, is in the · imperial library at Vienna.
Three others were procured in Egypt: one belongs to the Library of Count Italinski ; another was purchased by Dr. Clarke and sent to England, but it was nearly spoiled on the passage, in consequence of the bad weather encountered by the vessel on board of which it was forwarded ; this was the more unfortu. nate, as it was the completest copy then obtained: the third copy was the property of a French merchant residing at Rosetta, and who afterwards returned to France.
Tbe eleventh MSS. was bought at Constantinople, by Mr. Von Hammer for Court Thugut, and the twelfth and most perfect transcript of the whole was obtained by the same eminent Orientalist in Egypt : this is the copy from which his present translation is made : the fortune of the latter has been rather singu. lar, and forms a not inappropriate introduction to a series of extraordinary adventures.*,
The discovery of the MSS., and a sketch of its contents were communicated, Von Hammer relates, to his friend the Baron De Sacy in 1804: they were imparted by him to Mons. Caussin de Perceval, who thus adverts to the circumstance in his edition of Les mille et une nuits.
M. de *** sayant orientaliste, a fait venir d'Egypte lorsqu'il etoit a Constantinople un manuscrit, des mille et une nuits, tres complet dont il a envoyé la notice a Mr. de Sacy membre de l'institut national qui me l'a *communiquée." Von Hammer having translated all
* Weber adverts to other copies but in a rather vague manner. “In the Library of the Vatican Dr. Russel- inspected several copies said to be complete. In the Imperial Library at Paris several defective copies occur. In this country numerous manuscripts are preserved in the British museum, in several University Libraries, and some in the possession of individuals." Eastern Tales, vol. 1, Introduction xxv. Von Hammer has also omitted to notice the edition printed in this country in two volumes; extending to 200 Nights, besides the voyages of Sindbad.
the stories, omitted by Galland, into French, entrusted the MSS. when at Paris in 1810 to De Sacy and De Perceval, in the expectation that the latter would insert them in a new edition of the Arabian Nights, which he was then about to publish, acknowledging of course their author. * He found out, however, he asserts, that the French editor intended to appropriate the credit of the translation to himself, and to publish them without any mention of the translator's name. We presume, he advances this on sufficient grounds, as the imputation is not very creditable either to Mons. De Perceval or the Baron De Sacy: the notice taken of the MSS. by the former is not very satisfactory, and his motive for suppressing Von Hammer's name rather unaccountable : that it had the effect of misleading others is proved, for Weber who adverts to this passage, observes that “ Mr. De Perceval mentions a copy, in the library of a French orientalist who is not named.” Being again in possession of his MSS. Von Hammer made it over to a Book-seller in Germany to prepare for press, along with a German translation to be furnished by another hand. The Publisher with very pardonable nationality interested himself most especially for the German version, and Von Hammer seeing little chance of the appearance of the French translation took it into his own hands, and sent it again to Paris, where it remained with the Baron De Sacy untill 1820. At this period, Mr. Keene, Professor at Hertford, recommended Von Hammer to send the MSS. to England in the expectation of finding a publisher in London, and the translation was accordingly forwarded by a Courier going to the German en voy, addressed to a friend attached to the mission. The luckless paper was however, lost on the way, and every attempt to trace it has been unsuccessful. Under this disappointment Von Hammer consoles himself, that the German translation made by Professor Zinserling, is still at his disposal, and to obviate all fur
*This first edition was published in 1806, with four additional Tales.
ther accidents has determined on its publication. The first volume appeared at Stuttgard in 1823, and has just reached this country. We propose to notice what the learned translator states of the origin of the Arabian Nights' and to offer a specimen or two of the additional matter which has been the subject of his labours.
Von Hammer observes that nothing has been met with to convey any information with regard to the bistory of the original compiler: with respect, however, to the date less uncertainty prevails, as an allusion to the work occurs in the Golden Meadows of Masaudi, a highlv esteemed Arabic writer of the tenth century. In his 52nd chapter he describes the legend of the Paradise of Irem which is still believed by the Arabs to exist amongst their deserts, although invisible to men, and he then observes :
- Many persons doubt the circumstances related on this head in different historical works, particular. ly in that of Obeid Ben Sheriya upon the events of past ages, and the genealogies of mankind. This work is in every body's hands, but people of judgement consider all his details to be no better than fictitious adventures, such as are fabricated to divert great men in their idle hours, and secure their notice and favour. It is a work they say of the same class with those which have been translated from the Indian, Persian, and Greek tongues; as for example the Hezar Afsaneh termed in Arabic, the Alif Herefa or the thousand tales, universally known as the thousand nights. This is the history of an Indian King, his vizir, the vizir's daughter Sheherzada, and her governess Dinarzada. Another work of the same kind is Shelkand and Shimas, or the story of an Indian King, and his ten vizirs. The travels of Sindbad and other works belong to the same class.”
Masaudi refers these translations chiefly to the reign of the Khalif Mansur. “ He was the first Khalif who commanded Persian and Greek books to be translated into Arabic, amongst which were the Kalila Damna or