The Arabian Nights

Tales from the Thousand and One Nights

Illustrated by Edward J. Detmold

The best-loved tales from The Arabian Nights are beautifully illustrated with Edward J. Detmold’s original watercolours in this stunning Folio edition.


In the tantalising, exuberant and endlessly inventive tales that make up The Arabian Nights, the magical art of storytelling has never been more powerfully demonstrated. Here we find some of fiction’ most famous characters – Ala al-Din (Aladdin), Ali Baba and Sindbad – in a marvellous world of all-powerful sultans and seductive princesses, incredible jewels and fabulous beasts. Fairy tales, fables, erotica, riddles, bawdy comedy, mystical encounters; The Arabian Nights draws the reader into a labyrinth of stories which, like Russian dolls, contain ever more stories. This edition features beautifully reproduced watercolours by Edward J. Detmold which first appeared in the 1924 edition of the book.

Production Details

Bound in blocked cloth
Set in Monotype Scotch Roman with Founders Caslon as display
248 pages
Frontispiece and 11 colour illustrations
Plain slipcase
10˝ x 7½˝

The most famous stories in a stunning edition

The Folio Society edition contains nine of the most famous of the ‘Tales from the One Thousand and One Nights’, said to have been originally told by Scheherezade to her husband, King Shahryar. The King had married and murdered many wives but he finally met his match in Scheherezade, who told him a story every night, always stopping at a moment of cliff-hanging excitement in order to keep herself alive.

‘I am the Slave of the Lamp which is thy hand. What is thy desire?’

  1. From ’Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp’

Scheherezade’s world is one in which anything is possible – young women are changed into dogs, young men are turned half to stone, the earth opens and swallows the unwary, spells and potions make dreams come true or bring disaster, and demons and fairies appear from nowhere to determine an individual’s destiny by capricious whim.

Tales and characters that have inspired artists for centuries

The Arabian Nights, or The One Thousand and One Nights – the collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age of the 8th to the 13th centuries – has enthralled European audiences ever since the first translations appeared in the early 18th century. With their jinn and sorcerers, ghouls and monsters, their evocative, semi-legendary locations and their pervasive erotic charge, the Nights have fired the imagination of artists in all media – from the writings of Poe, Flaubert and others, to the operas by Weber and Rimsky-Korsakov, and, later, countless adaptations for film and television. For this edition, Folio has returned to the 1924 Hodder and Stoughton translation, and the original paintings by Edward J. Detmold commissioned by Hodder for their first edition.

The tales within

The History of Codadad and His Brothers and of the Princess Deryabar
Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
Sindbad the Sailor
The Story of Prince Assad and the Fairy Perie Nashara
Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp
The Three Calenders
The Story of the King of the Ebony Isles
The Story of Baba Abdalla
The Story of Ganem, the Slave of Love

About Edward J. Detmold

Edward Julius Detmold (1883–1957) and his twin brother, Charles Maurice Detmold, were prolific Victorian book illustrators, masters of watercolour etching and colour printing with copper plates. Edward worked alongside his brother on Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, and later, after the death of Maurice, on The Fables of Aesop (1909), The Life of the Bee by Maurice Maeterlinck (1911) and Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales (1923), which he took so long to complete that it was never published. Edward died in 1957.


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