‘Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange’
/ Robert Irwin
Dating from at least a millennium ago, this is the earliest known collection of Arabic stories, surviving in a single ragged manuscript in a library in Istanbul. Some stories 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. These stories were designed to enchant a society fantastically distant from our own, and, now centuries later, they can be marvelled at in all their strangeness.
Robert Irwin is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction. His works of non fiction include The Arabian Nights: A Companion (1994), Islamic Art (1997), Night and Horses and the Desert: An Anthology of Classical Arabic Literature (1999), The Alhambra (2004) and For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and Their Enemies (2006). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, of the London Institute of ’Pataphysics, of the Royal Asiatic Society and of the Society of Antiquaries.