Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue Jan 21 17:33:18 UTC 2014

At 1/20/2014 04:34 PM, W Brewer wrote:
><<The tales themselves trace their roots back to ancient and medieval
>Arabic, Persian, Indian, Egyptian and Mesopotamian folklore and literature>>
>Arabic 9th c; . . . Antoine Galland, first European translator, Les mille
>et une nuits) 1704-1717; first English edition, anonymous 1706;
>Edward Lane 1840, 1859; John Payne 1882; Richard Burton 1885; Lyons
>& Lyons 2008.

The earliest English-language edition that WorldCat or Harvard holds
is 1712.  There were at least 11 editions by 1736 (the date of my
newspaper article), and perhaps more: Harvard lists 17, with some
having identical years.  Many are in ECCO -- the 1712 and most of the others.

Thus I would guess the tales were popular in England in the 1710s and
1720s.  :-)  So, restricting myself to English publications --

1)  One has to decide whether or not the Arabian Nights qualify as
"cliff-hangers", since a reader can continue immediately.  I'll also
look at a couple of these early English editions to see how they
present the tales, and whether the break points qualify as "tenterhooks";  and

2)  The claim for 1736 may have to be diminished to "earliest known
'cliff-hanger' in an English-language *periodical*".


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list