The Tale of Tales, or Entertainment for Little Ones

The Tale of Tales, or Entertainment for Little Ones

Author:

Paperback, Pages: 463

Genres: Classics, Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Short Stories

Language: English

Reads: 16

Downloads: 1063

Rating: Rated: 504 timesRate It

The Tale of Tales, or Entertainment for Little Ones
Enter the sum

Ebook formats

TXT (60 KB)

PDF (23.3 MB)

EPub (9.1 MB)

Mobi Kindle Edition (19.8 MB)

Audiobook MP3 full length (671 MB)

Description

The Tale of Tales, made up of forty-nine fairy tales within a fiftieth frame story, contains the earliest versions of celebrated stories like Rapunzel, All-Fur, Hansel and Gretel, The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella. The tales are bawdy and irreverent but also tender and whimsical, acute in psychological characterization and encyclopedic in description. They are also evocative of marvelous worlds of fairy-tale unreality as well as of the everyday rituals of life in seventeenth-century Naples. Yet because the original is written in the nonstandard Neopolitan dialect of Italian—and was last translated fully into English in 1932—this important piece of Baroque literature has long been inaccessible to both the general public and most fairy-tale scholars.

Giambattista Basile’s “The Tale of Tales, or Entertainment for Little Ones” is a modern translation that preserves the distinctive character of Basile’s original. Working directly from the original Neopolitan version, translator Nancy L. Canepa takes pains to maintain the idiosyncratic tone of The Tale of Tales as well as the work’s unpredictable structure. This edition keeps the repetition, experimental syntax, and inventive metaphors of the original version intact, bringing Basile’s words directly to twenty-first-century readers for the first time. This volume is also fully annotated, so as to elucidate any unfamiliar cultural references alongside the text. Giambattista Basile’s “The Tale of Tales, or Entertainment for Little Ones” is also lushly illustrated and includes a foreword, an introduction, an illustrator’s note, and a complete bibliography.

The publication of The Tale of Tales marked not only a culmination of the interest in the popular culture and folk traditions of the Renaissance period but also the beginning of the era of the artful and sophisticated “authored” fairy tale that inspired and influenced later writers like Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm. Giambattista Basile’s “The Tale of Tales, or Entertainment for Little Ones” offers an excellent point of departure for reflection about what constitutes Italian culture, as well as for discussion of the relevance that forms of early modern culture like fairy tales still hold for us today. This volume is vital reading for fairy-tale scholars and anyone interested in cultural history.

Reader Reviews
  •    Mautilar Dolenar
    2020
    This obscure and wonderful collection of fairytales is not, perhaps, quite as filthy as you might expect from something called Lo cunto de li cunti, but it's still full of bizarre and scatological delights. Written in the early 1600s – before the Grimms, before Perrault – it contains the first known versions of famous tales like Cinderella, Rapunzel, Hansel & Gretel, or Sleeping Beauty, all of them dramatically different from how they're told today, and throws in for good measure a host of more recondite folk-stories that I had never heard before.

    Their author, Giambattista Basile, was a kind of itinerant courtier and sometime soldier from outside Naples, who wrote in an elaborate, rococo form of Neapolitan as well as (elsewhere) in standard Italian. In The Tales of Tales, Basile gathers his stories together under a frame narrative, in a half-parodic imitation of Boccaccio: the tone is set early when a princess gets a curse put on her for laughing at an old woman's vagina, as a distant result of which it becomes necessary – don't ask why – for ten women to tell five stories each across the space of five days. Hence the alternative title of the Pentamerone.

    Each story is no more than four or five pages long, which makes this an easy book to read, despite its length. And each begins with a helpful one-paragraph synopsis. I can give you an idea of the kind of thing we're dealing with by quoting one of these in its entirety – here's the précis of tale 5.1, ‘The Goose’:

    Lilla and Lolla buy a coin-shitting goose at the market. A neighbor asks to borrow it, and when she sees that it's the opposite of what it should be, she kills it and throws it out the window. The goose attaches itself to a prince's ass while he's relieving himself, and no one but Lolla can remove it; for this reason the prince takes her for his wife.


    Yep. The scene where the prince is trying to wipe his arse on the dead goose's neck is particularly to be recommended.

    And this flair for the Rabelaisian is put to surprisingly effective use within the stories, generating some impressive insults and metaphors. ‘Why don't you shut that sewer hole, you bogeyman's grandmother, blood-sucking witch, baby drowner, rag shitter, fart gatherer?’ yells one character, while another is dismissed as ‘a flycatcher who wasn't worth his weight in dog sperm’. Someone else is described as being so terrified that ‘they wouldn't have been able to take an enema made of a single pig's bristle’.


    A still from the rather wonderful 2015 film version, directed by Matteo Garrone

    Basile's obscurity, at least in the English-speaking world, is due in no small part to the lack of decent translations, which makes this new rendering from Nancy L Canepa – the first since the 1930s – extremely welcome. More than welcome; it feels staggeringly overdue. Most previous editions have been based on Benedetto Croce's ‘not always faithful’ 1925 translation into Italian, whereas Canepa is working straight from the original Neapolitan. To show what a difference it makes, let's return to that coin-shitting goose we met earlier. A line from the original tale runs:

    Ma, scoppa dì e fa buono iuorno, la bona papara commenzaie a cacare scute riccie, de manera che a cacata a cacata se ne ’nchiero no cascione.


    The previous complete English translation – from Penzer in 1932, working from Croce's Italian – translated this like so:

    But dawn comes and it turns out to be a fine day: the worthy goose began to make golden ducats, so that, little by little, they filled a great chest with them…


    But Canepa's translation restores the forceful vulgarity of the original:

    And when morning breaks it's a nice day, for the good goose began to shit hard cash until, shitload upon shitload, they had filled up a whole chest.


    You can see that it really feels like we're hearing Basile for the first time now. This gives a wonderful sense of discovery to Canepa's translation, even if for my own taste she sometimes seems to favour word-for-word accuracy over English readability (with the convenient, if believable, justification that Basile's own Neapolitan must have been quite a challenge even to contemporaries). Any quibbles are more than made up for by the wealth of notes and other apparatus, which give generous citations of the original and explain those flourishes of wordplay or references that Canepa has not attempted to modernise.

    Taking this fabulous, irreverent tour of seventeenth-century life is an exhilarating experience, and even an uplifting one. Although he deals with violence, revenge and death, Basile is not especially interested in tragedy or cruelty; it's impossible to imagine him other than with a smile on his face. And indeed impossible to read him without one, either.
    Reply
  •    Kejind Lichtenberge
    2020
    I loved the movie, but oh, that book. It is a collection of Italian fairy tales from the early 1600's. They are gruesome, dark, ironic and reflect an outlook on a world that treated its people in a like manner. Justice is not always swift in these tales, but it is exacting. The evil, selfish and stupid get what's coming to them. The truly beautiful and the innocent are rewarded with treasure beyond imagining.

    These were court tales for people to amuse each other with while idling away the time between courses at banquets or waiting for the Count to put in an appearance.

    Giambattista Basile compiled them into this collection, which was the first published book of European fairy tales.

    I confess I only got one third of the way through it. It is lo-o-ong, and the stories behind to all sound alike after a while.

    I was listening to the Audible version. I recommend the book form. Then you can pick and choose your way through, finding the stories that tickle your fancy.

    A word of warning. These people were earthy. They enjoyed joking about bodily functions as much as 5th grade boys!
    Reply

Related books

  • Weapon (Whisper, #2)
    Weapon (Whisper, #2) by Lynette Noni
    Weapon (Whisper, #2)
    Weapon (Whisper, #2)

    Reads:
    34

    Pages:
    407

    Downloads:
    2161

    The #1 bestselling WHISPER series concludes with WEAPON:

    I already knew he was a psychopath. But now?

    Formats: PDF, Epub, Kindle, TXT

  • Marry Me for Money (Forever After, #1)
    Marry Me for Money (Forever After, #1) by Mia Kayla
    Marry Me for Money (Forever After, #1)
    Marry Me for Money (Forever After, #1)

    Reads:
    79

    Pages:
    296

    Downloads:
    5007

    Leaving her small town behind, Bethany Casse moves to Chicago in search of a new life. Working at a...

    Formats: PDF, Epub, Kindle, TXT

  • Spirit of Lone Warrior: A Journey of Retribution and Redemption
    Spirit of Lone Warrior: A Journey of Retribution and Redemption by Lloyd E. Foley
    Spirit of Lone Warrior: A Journey of Retribution and Redemption
    Spirit of Lone Warrior: A Journey of Retribution and Redemption

    Reads:
    21

    Pages:
    216

    Downloads:
    1385

    Jimmy Cutters family farm is assaulted by outlaws and his father is killed and sister kidnapped. He...

    Formats: PDF, Epub, Kindle, TXT

  • Red Team Field Manual
    Red Team Field Manual by Ben Clark
    Red Team Field Manual
    Red Team Field Manual

    Reads:
    22

    Pages:
    96

    Downloads:
    1432

    The Red Team Field Manual (RTFM) is a no fluff, but thorough reference guide for serious Red Team members...

    Formats: PDF, Epub, Kindle, TXT