Thursday, October 29, 2015

Review of Sinbad the Sailor

Book 41: The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor, from The Arabian Nights, translated by Richard F. Burton. Unabridged audio.

This is one of the most famous sections of The Arabian Nights (or Book of The Thousand and One Nights), and is often collected as a separate work, as it is here. This is despite the fact that the Voyages are considered a late addition to the larger work, not appearing until manuscripts that date from 300 years after the earliest version.

Sinbad has wasted his father’s fortune, and goes to sea to find his own. But he finds an island that is in fact a giant prehistoric whale. Then, there are the giant snakes that can swallow elephants, and gigantic eggs. For as good a sailor Sinbad is supposed to be, he is extremely prone to shipwrecks. But he does manage to find a valley of diamonds. And marry more than his fair share of beautiful princesses. I can understand why his voyages have been dramatized so many times. There is a lot of drama and adventure in these tales.

The Burton translation from 1885 is considered the standard, and is a beautiful mix of flowing storytelling and lovely language. I don’t know how easy it would be to read, but it was very pleasant to listen to. I can see why Scheherazade wanted him to continue telling his tales.

Source: The Classic TalesPodcast, episodes 400 – 403.The podcast produces high-quality audio versions of public domain works.

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