|Introduction notes to THE NIGHTíS
Most American and European are totally unfamiliar with the
complete works of the Arabian Nightís. The majority believe that
the Arabian Nights consists only of Ali Baba and Aladin and that
it is a Disney studio creation. Others believe that the Arabian
Nightís are children stories. Contrary to both notion, the
original stories are beautiful detailed, erotic, and
sophisticated dealing with gender roles, values, theology,
commerce, sex, love and culture story form. And as stories,
these timeless issues are represented in a more persuasive and
instructional form than any other means of communication.
would like to introduce the modern reader to selected updated
stories from the ARABIAN NIGHTíS accompanied by rich colorful
original watercolors. I chose to update Richard Burtonís 1883
version because it is the most authentic English translation .
But , this 17- volume work is difficult to understand due to the
language and writing style of that period. I want to update the
stories so todayís reader can both comprehend and appreciate
Burtonís work in order to have an intellectual and an aesthetic
reading experience . I am modernizing the work by using familiar
English terminology and usage, by eliminating repetition and by
reducing excessive poetic verse and couplets without losing the
intent and flavor of the original. My watercolors add magic to
the stories by transporting the reader through color and
imagination to the time of the Arabian Nightís .The watercolors
are my interpretation of the main characters through gesture, as
if they were actors on a stage without props.
Twenty one years ago I realized the worldwide lack of exposure
to the wisdom and beauty of folk tales. My painting of Alice in
Wonderland, A Midsummer Nightís Dream , and the Arabian Nightís
hopefully will reintroduce the richest folk tales to the
American and European public.
Selected stories accompanied by my watercolors to the Arabian
Nightís will appear gradually on this site if my health and time
will permit it .
Michael Osterweil 2006