She had perused the works of the poets and knew them by heart; she had studied philosophy and the sciences, arts and accomplishments; and she was pleasant and polite, wise and witty, well read and well bred. ~ Richard Francis Burton's translation of One Thousand and One Nights
He entered large halls where the carpets were of silk, the lounges and sofas covered with tapestry from Mecca, and the hangings of the most beautiful Indian stuffs of gold and silver. Then he found himself in a splendid room, with a fountain supported by golden lions. The water out of the lions' mouths turned into diamonds and pearls, and the leaping water almost touched a most beautifully-painted dome. The palace was surrounded on three sides by magnificent gardens, little lakes, and woods. Birds sang in the trees, which were netted over to keep them always there.
Scheherazade had perused the books, annals and legends of preceding Kings, and the stories, examples and instances of bygone men and things; indeed it was said that she had collected a thousand books of histories relating to antique races and departed rulers. She had perused the works of the poets and knew them by heart; she had studied philosophy and the sciences, arts and accomplishments; and she was pleasant and polite, wise and witty, well read and well bred.
Scheherazade … possessed courage, wit, and penetration, infinitely above her sex. She had read much, and had so admirable a memory, that she never forgot any thing she had read. She had successfully applied herself to philosophy, medicine, history, and the liberal arts; and her poetry excelled the compositions of the best writers of her time. Besides this, she was a perfect beauty, and all her accomplishments were crowned by solid virtue.
All of us, especially educated Arab women, would say, 'No, do you think I am Scheherazade? A slave sitting and telling you stories so you won't kill me?' This is how we thought about Scheherazade at the beginning. One Thousand and One Nights ... wasn't looked at as ... Arabic literary heritage. People thought it was vulgar; they thought it was very bad literature — it's not literature, it's folk tales and nothing else. But then everything changed.
I fell in love with her because I thought she was the first feminist. Second, because she was a philosopher, an artist, a writer, and she was trying through literature to humanize the king and men around her.