This translation is of the complete text of the Mahdi edition, the definitive Arabic edition of a fourteenth-century Syrian manuscript, which is the oldest surviving version of the tales and considered to be the most authentic.
Husain Haddawy was born and grew up in Baghdad, taught English and comparative literature at various American universities, wrote art criticism, and is now living in retirement in Thailand.
Dating from at least a millennium ago, these are the earliest known Arabic short stories, surviving in a single, ragged manuscript in a library in Istanbul. Some found their way into The Arabian Nights but most have never been read in English before. Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange has monsters, lost princes, jewels beyond price, a princess turned into a gazelle, sword-wielding statues and shocking reversals of fortune.