Galland’s Mille et une nuit

Early Galland

Title page from an early copy of Galland, 1730.

Over at The Journal of the 1001 Nights there is post on the manuscript used  by Antoine Galland to create his version of the Thousand and One Nights.  It got me to thinking about the Galland Nights.  It is well know that his was the first European version of the Nights, published in 1704.  While that is a seminal date, there are 12 volumes in Galland’s Nights, published over a period of 13 years.  The publishing history of each volume is mush less well known. Below is a more detailed breakdown of the publishing history and creation of the first Arabian Nights.  Pretty much all subsequent versions are derive from this version one way or another.

The manuscript is a 14th or 15th century document, in 3 parts.  It resides in the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris, France.

Volume 1    1704        Follows manuscript closely

Volume 2    1704        Follows manuscript closely

Volume 3    1704        Inserts Sindbad tales.  These tales are from a separate source and, up to this time, had never been associated with the Nights

Volume 4    1704        Returns to the manuscript

Volume 5    1705?        Continues with manuscript, skips two tales from the MMS. It is unclear if this and the following was published in 1704 or 1705.  I believe that 1705 is correct.

Volume 6    1705?        Continues with the manuscript tales.  Includes the tale “Qumar al-Zaman” which is incomplete in the MMS.  Galland “supplies” an ending.  Where he got it from is unknown.

Volume 7    1706        Publishes the previously skipped two tales.

Volume 8    1709        Publisher issues this volume without Galland’s knowledge.  Contains a previously translated story by Galland and two tales from a Turkish work, A Thousand and One Days, by another translator.

Volume 9    1712        The Hanna Tales.  Galland hears stories told by a Syrian priest from Aleppo at Parisian dinner parties.  He wrote brief summaries of the tales (3-8 pages) in his diaries.  Galland claims that Hanna provided him with a written Arabic version of the tales but none has ever been found.  The published versions are considerably longer than the diary entries.

Volume 10    1712        More Hanna Tales

Volume 11    1717        More Hanna Tales published posthumously.  Galland dies in 1715.

Volume 12    1717        Final Hanna Tales published posthumously.  The thousand and first night is made up by Galland, giving the collection a happy ending.

Copies of Galland’s Nights are very scarce.  Even the Bibliothèque nationale does not have much in the way of early editions (although they do have the ‘original’ Arabic manuscript and Galland’s diaries.)  The only potentially complete copy of Galland that I know of is housed in the Case Memorial Library at The Hartford Seminary Foundation.  The published bibliography has an entry under Galland as: Les Mille & Une Nuit. Contes Arabes. Paris: Claude Barbin, 1704-1717. 12 volumes.[1] I hope to visit Hartford this summer and actually have a look at their collection.

In future posts I’ll go into more detail on the contents of each volume.

[1] Brockway, Duncan. “The Macdonald Collection of Arabian Nights.” The Muslim World 63:2 (1973) 192. Print.

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4 Responses to Galland’s Mille et une nuit

  1. Pingback: Galland’s Mille et une nuit part 2 | Wollamshram's Blog

  2. Benoît says:


    I’m looking for this text :
    Brockway, Duncan. “The Macdonald Collection of Arabian Nights.” The Muslim World 63:2 (1973) 192. Print

    Du you know where I can find this?

    • Wollamshram says:

      Any university library should have a copy. If not a physical copy, then it will probably be available in one of the electronic journal databases. If that fails I do have a copy.
      The article you referenced is the 2nd of 3 articles. They are a bibliography of the Arabian Night’s holding of the Case Memorial Library at the Hartford Seminary. This part deals with non-English versions of the Nights.

      Best wishes,

  3. Benoît says:

    I’m french, I only search about french versions. I think it should be difficult to find it in France.

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