Patrick O'Brian Discussion Forum


The Thousand and One Nights

Bob Bridges
robhbridges@gmail.com
Tue Feb 6


Christo's post about the Barmecide feast is gone now, but it got me thinking.  I was a big fan of the One Thousand and One Nights when I was a teenager; I'd found an old copy of the 1850 translation by Richard Burton ("British explorer, geographer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, cartographer, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet, fencer, and diplomat") and read it more than once.  I now have a link to the same translation by the Gutenberg project, which I started rereading a while ago.

I don't recall a Barmecide, though.  Must be further on.

[ This message was edited on Tue Feb 6 by the author ]


Re: The Thousand and One Nights

Chrístő
chris@cjsquire.plus.com
Wed Feb 7


On Tue Feb 6, Bob Bridges wrote
-------------------------------
>Christo's post about the Barmecide feast is gone now, but it got me thinking.  I was a big fan of the One Thousand and One Nights when I was a teenager . . I don't recall a Barmecide, though.  Must be further on.

OED offers:

'Barmecide, n.: the patronymic of a family of princes ruling at Bagdad just before Haroun-al-Raschid, concerning one of whom the story is told in the Arabian Nights, that he put a succession of empty dishes before a beggar, pretending that they contained a sumptuous repast—a fiction which the beggar humorously accepted.

One who offers imaginary food or illusory benefits. Often attrib.
1713   J. Addison in Guardian 16 Sept. 2/1   The Barmecide was sitting at his Table that seemed ready covered for an Entertainment.
1842   Dickens Amer. Notes I. viii. 282   It is a Barmecide Feast; a pleasant field for the imagination to rove in.
1855   Thackeray Newcomes II. x. 103   My dear Barmecide friend.
1863   Reader II. 506   Sharing the boundless hospitality of a Barmecide.'


Re: The Thousand and One Nights

Joe McWilliams
joemac27@hotmail.com
Wed Feb 7


The One Thousand and One Nights also loomed large in my childhood, read to us by our mother. Years later I encountered a compelling and complicated adventurer called Richard Francis Burton in PJ Farmer's 'To Their Scattered Bodies Go.' Wanting to know more, I found Fawn Brodie's excellent 'The Devil Drives'. Burton claimed to have learned as many as 30 languages, failed to find the source of the Nile, posed as an Arab to enter Mecca... what a guy.
I must read more by Ms. Brodie. I have a soft spot for apostate Mormons......


On Tue Feb 6, Bob Bridges wrote
-------------------------------
>Christo's post about the Barmecide feast is gone now, but it got me thinking.  I was a big fan of the One Thousand and One Nights when I was a teenager; I'd found an old copy of the 1850 translation by Richard Burton ("British explorer, geographer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, cartographer, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet, fencer, and diplomat") and read it more than once.  I now have a link to the same translation by the Gutenberg project, which I started rereading a while ago.

>I don't recall a Barmecide, though.  Must be further on.


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