The collection of Middle Eastern folk tales in Arabic, One Thousand and One Nights or The Arabian Nights, was first translated into Chinese in 1900 through an English translation. Since then, many Chinese versions have been translated through English versions during the first half of the 20th century. It has been generally assumed that most Chinese translators chose Edward Lane’s version as their source text. However, this paper points out that there was no Chinese version based on Lane’s version. Most Chinese versions were actually translated via the English translations of Antoine Galland’s French version, including those of Edward Forster, Jonathan Scott, and George Townsend. Others were translated from adaptations for young readers, such as Stories from the Arabian Nights, published by the Houghton Mifflin Co., and The Arabian Nights Entertainments: Stories From the Thousand and One Nights, Told for Young People by Martha Lane. This paper aims to clarify the source texts for Chinese translations of One Thousand and One Nights before 1949.
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