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The Tale of Tales (Penguin Classics) Paperback – February 9, 2016
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“Exhilarating . . . Invaluable . . . Vivid and fascinating . . . The body count is so high that it’s lucky our dimwitted heroes and goodhearted fairies always seem to have convenient potions on hand to paste everyone’s heads back on. . . . The writing has the manic, crowd-pleasing energy of a work meant to be read aloud.” —NPR.org
“Though [Basile] wrote for a literary elite, the dirt of an oral tradition clings to his telling, rich in legend and slang.” —Anthony Lane, The New Yorker
“What makes The Tale of Tales memorable is twofold: the lunatic imagery used in many of these stories, and the occasionally tart tone taken by its narration. . . . The bizarre details of several of these stories offer much to recommend.” —Literary Hub
About the Author
Giambattista Basile (1575–1632) was born near Naples, Italy, and was an accomplished poet, courtier, and feudal administrator. Today he is remembered for The Tale of Tales, the first integral collection of fairy tales published in Europe; it includes the first literary versions of Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, and many other classic tale types.
Nancy L. Canepa (translator and introducer) is an associate professor of French and Italian at Dartmouth College.
Jack Zipes (foreword) is a preeminent fairy tale scholar who has written, translated, or edited dozens of books, including The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm. He is a professor emeritus of German and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota.
Carmelo Lettere (illustrations) is an Italian artist. Originally from Lecce, Italy, he now lives in New Hampshire.
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Canepa has secured her position as the United States' leading European folklore and fairy-tale scholar with her invaluable expertise necessary to decode a perplexing array of esoteric 16th-century Neapolitan dialectical idiosyncrasies unique not only to Basile’s contemporary setting of Late-Renaissance Naples, but also to his own aristocratically eccentric parlance, broadly adopting “formal techniques espoused by [an] elite tradition” (Canepa, 1999). The preeminent Canepa translation expertly maintains Basile’s stylistic conception of the literary fairy tale in a manner accessible to native English readers – at long last delivering a satisfying English translation commensurate with the level of scholarly attention Basile’s “cunti” have rightfully elicited in recent times.