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Rubáiyat of Omar Khayyam : English, French, German, Italian, and Danish translations comparatively arranged in accordance with the text of Edward FitzGerald's version with further selections, notes, biographies, bibliographies, and other material

Omar Khayyam and Edward Fitzgerald, 1905

This is a translation of a selection of poems originally written in Persian, attributed to Omar Khayyam, a Persian poet, mathematician, and astronomer. Themes include mysticism, atheism, orthodox Islam, carpe diem, water as the wine of life, fate, and ineluctable death.  This book contains 75 quatrains which are considered to be an "interpretation" rather than a literal translation of Khayyam's verses. This book has been translated into over 70 languages, and is known for its aesthetic qualities and its philosophical depth.


The book of the thousand nights and a night : a plain and literal translation of the Arabian nights entertainments [v.1]

Sir Richard Francis Burton, originally published 1885-1888

The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night is a classic English language translation of One Thousand and One Nights, a collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories and folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. Burton’s 16 volumes, while boasting many prominent admirers, have been criticized for a variety of reasons. Some have claimed that his writing is extravagant, over-blown, and overly personal. Still others have noted his intense and oftentimes inappropriate fascination with sexuality. However, his is the definitive translation, and his writings continue to impact the way people imagine the Orient.



Turkish literature : comprising fables, belles-lettres and sacred traditions

Epiphanius Wilson, 1902

This book provides a thorough survey of Turkish literature. The author's attitude towards the Turkish people is decidedly Orientalist, and he frequently focuses on their exoticism and their dissimilarity to Europeans. However, his appreciation for Turkish literature is sincere and pronounced, and he strives to offer a comprehensive overview of the many periods of Turkish literature. Of particular note is the "History of the Forty Vezirs," a collection of very old tales that offer a glimpse into fantastic worlds of magic and adventure.

Kalilah and Dimnah : or, The Fables of Bidpai: being an account of their literary history 

I.G.N Keith-Falconer,  1885

The Panchatantra or Kalilah and Dimnah or The Fables of Bidpai or Kalilag and Damnag is an ancient collection of stories. The original text was written in Sanskrit in 3rd century BCE in India. Keith-Falconer asserts that only the Bible has been read by more people, and it is likely that he is correct. While these stories may be Indian in origin, they were brought to the West by Islam. The stories are simple and offer moral lessons, and this particular translation is very clear and direct.

Babylonian and Assyrian literature; comprising the epic of Izdubar, hymns, tablets, and cuneiform inscriptions

Epiphanius Wilson, 1901

The Assyrians transcribed their great works of literature in cuneiform, carved into clay tablets. These stories, books, and wonders have withstood the test of time, and historians like Wilson have been able to read and translate original, authentic texts. However, Europeans only learned how to read cuneiform in 1850, so at the time of this book's publication this language was relatively "new." This book is also significant in that it contains The Epic of Ishtar and Izdubar, an incredible tale that is now known as the Epic of Gilgamesh.