first edition Hard Cover
1894 · London
by Burton, R.F. [Richard Francis]; Smithers, Leonard C
London: H.S. Nichols & Co, 1894. Hard Cover. Near Fine/No Jacket. First Smithers edition, also called the Library Edition (Penzer p. 117-123). Minor cosmetic wear, ink name on front endpaper of each volume, front hinge of first volume just beginning to weaken. 1894 Hard Cover. Complete in twelve volumes, a reissue of the 1885 Benares edition (which was printed by the Kamashastra Society for private subscribers only), edited by Leonard C. Smithers. 8vo. According to the preface, "In Lady Burton's edition, which was a reprint of the first ten volumes only of the original issue, it was thought advisable to omit no fewer than 215 pages; in this edition, which comprises the whole sixteen volumes (the entire work), more than four-fifths of these omitted passages have been restored. These few omissions are also rendered necessary by the pledge which Sir Richard gave to his Subscribers that no cheaper edition of the entire work should be issued; but in all other respects the original text has been reproduced with scrupulous fidelity. The reader has here, therefore, the most complete English edition of The Nights that can ever be published, the extreme grossness of the few words and passages omitted absolutely precluding their appearance." A reissue of the scarce 1885 Kamashastra Society edition (which generally sells for $4000 - 8000), following the same cover design. Black cloth, gilt titles and decorations, top edge gilt. Burton's translation of The Arabian Nights remains the authoritative version of this extensive collection of stories, and also stands as a unique example of liberality in publishing during the Victorian era. Despite the salacious content of many of the narratives, the first printed English version remained true to Burton's precise and inclusive translation. Burton was somewhat of a trailblazer in this regard, also publishing an authoritative version of the now-famous Kama Sutra.
(Inventory #: 2282238)