The Arabian Nights Encyclopedia

by Ulrich Marzolph and Richard van Leeuwen


An ancient source of wisdom and perhaps the most pervasive Islamic influence on Western culture, the tales of the Arabian Nights have inspired the imagination of young and old. From fantastic characters to love and magic powers, these tales have stimulated creative works of Western literature, art, architecture, music, and popular culture for many centuries.

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Cover image for The Arabian Nights Encyclopedia

August 2004


Pages 921
Volumes 2
Size 7x10
Topics The Arts/World Literature
  • Hardcover



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The most comprehensive treatment of the Arabian Nights ever published, with more than 800 detailed encyclopedic entries and a wealth of authoritative essays and resources.

The tales of the Arabian Nights have long been the focus of scholarly research and critique, but no English language work has ever attempted an all-embracing treatment of them. The fruit of years of research, The Arabian Nights Encyclopedia is the first comprehensive reference work introducing both the Arabian Nights and the context of their genesis and aftermath in Near Eastern, European, and world culture.

Editors Ulrich Marzolph, one of the world's foremost scholars of Near Eastern narrative culture, and Richard van Leeuwen, a prominent scholar of the Arabian Nights, present detailed, authoritative, and up-to-date research on virtually all aspects of the tales, including major protagonists, themes, important translations, textual history, adaptations, reworkings, works inspired by the Arabian Nights, and aspects of literary theory, and provide extensive bibliographies for each tale. In addition to the 800+ encyclopedic entries and numerous essays, the work introduces research that has not previously been published, making it an invaluable resource to scholars, educators, students, and the general public, as well as an essential addition to the core collection of academic and public libraries.


  • Includes 800+ encyclopedic entries covering all aspects of the Arabian Nights
  • Begins with a fascinating introduction and a variety of essays by renowned scholars, presenting areas of pivotal interest and concern
  • Includes a concordance of tales in different editions and translations
  • Provides an extensive bibliography, featuring reference works published in English and other languages


  • The most comprehensive reference work on the subject
  • Combines detailed information with impeccable research drawn from primary sources and previous work
  • Written by leading scholars of the Arabian Nights
  • Provides up-to-date, accessible information on virtually all aspects of the tales
Author Info

Ulrich Marzolph, PhD, is professor of Islamic studies at the Georg-August University, Göttingen, Germany, and a senior member of the editorial committee of the Enzyklopädie des Märchens. He has published widely on the narrative culture of the Islamic Near and Middle East, particularly relating to classical and modern folktales as well as jokes and anecdotes, in Persian, Arabic, and Turkish.

Richard van Leeuwen, PhD, is associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. His published works include the Dutch translation of the Arabian Nights as well as essays on the Arabian Nights.



"The scholarship in the work is impeccable . . . The work is impressive . . . Recommended. Academic collections."Choice

"The editors of these two volumes have succeeded in their goal of presenting the most comprehensive treatment of The Arabian Nights ever published in the English language. . . . Perhaps this erudite, fascinating encyclopedia will encourage scholars to further research and translation. Certainly it should awaken in readers a new appreciaton for these important tales."American Reference Books Annual

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