Aladdin: A New Translation
Long defined by popular film adaptations that have reductively portrayed Aladdin as a simplistic rags-to-riches story for children, this work of dazzling imagination--and occasionally dark themes--finally comes to vibrant new life. "In the capital of one of China's vast and wealthy kingdoms," begins Shahrazad-- the tale's imperiled-yet-ingenious storyteller--there lived Aladdin, a rebellious fifteen-year-old who falls prey to a double-crossing sorcerer and is ultimately saved by the ruse of a princess.
One of the best-loved folktales of all time, Aladdin has been capturing the imagination of readers, illustrators, and filmmakers since an eighteenth-century French publication first added the tale to The Arabian Nights. Yet, modern English translators have elided the story's enchanting whimsy and mesmerizing rhythms. Now, translator Yasmine Seale and literary scholar Paulo Lemos Horta offer an elegant, eminently readable rendition of Aladdin in what is destined to be a classic for decades to come.
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Yasmine Seale's new translation of the classic tale reveals its surprising depth.--Wendy Smith, Publishers Weekly
Yasmine Seale has brought Aladdin back to life: she captures the grace and the strangeness of the version collected and written down by Antoine Galland in the eighteenth century, and has found unexpected riches of fine, sly, parodic humor in a story which has suffered in its long, twisting history from manhandling, truncation, and an excess of pomp and ceremony. This is a fresh, witty, and vigorous retelling.--Marina Warner, Kirkus Reviews
Yasmine Seale's vivacious prose resurrects a classic folktale that we thought we knew, and animates it with deeper meanings. This book is a superb example of translation as an art form.--Pankaj Mishra, Windham Campell Prize-winning author of Age of Anger: A History of the Present
Sparkling.... Seale's elegant new translation of Aladdin restores the tale to its roots. Tapping into her own Syrian-French background, Seale has worked from both Arabic and French sources to produce her captivating translation.... steeped in magic and stripped of some of the phony adornments that have diluted its essence over the centuries, [this] is a delightful retelling of the dreams and adventures of the wily young peasant boy who matures to become a beloved ruler.--Robert Weibezahl, BookPage
Elegant... Seale is careful to frame her translation with an account of Shahrazad herself, which not only gives it a sense of urgency, but also reminds us that the narrative voice is a female one--a fact that other adaptations and translations often miss. This world is one in which a woman can use the gift of story-telling to navigate the power of men. And this framing breathes new life into the female cast of Aladdin's story.--Hetta Howes, Times Literary Supplement
This new translation of the classic tale is, like the lamp at its center, darker, grubbier, and more twisted than its Disneyfied iteration, emphasizing its transgressive qualities.... Seale's text has a fluidity and an elegance that give even this diet of "dreams, smoke, and visions" a satisfying heft.