Lovecraft was a big fan of the The Arabian Nights in his youth, and he’d no doubt be pleased to hear the the foremost British writer on myth and fairytale has written a 500-page book about it. Independent scholar Marina Warner‘s Stranger Magic: Charmed States in the Wake of the Arabian Nights is due to be published by Chatto & Windus in the UK, and Random House in the USA. Seems they’re going to try and get it out for the New Year book token market.

“A dazzling history of magical thinking, exploring the power of The Arabian Nights and its impact in the West, and retelling some of its wondrous tales. […] Translated into French and English in the early days of the Enlightenment, this became a best-seller among intellectuals, when it was still thought of in the Arab world as a mere collection of folk tales. For thinkers of the West the book’s strangeness opened visions of transformation: dreams of flight, speaking objects, virtual money, and the power of the word to bring about change. Its tales create a poetic image of the impossible, a parable of secret knowledge and power. Above all they have the fascination of the strange — the belief that true knowledge lies elsewhere, in a mysterious realm of wonder. […] With startling originality and impeccable research, this ground-breaking book shows how magic, in the deepest sense, helped to create the modern world, and how profoundly it is still inscribed in the way we think today.”

Marina Warner can be heard discussing The Arabian Nights on BBC Radio 4’s highly recommended In Our Time programme (UK access only, those outside the UK try here).