Fairy Tales Framed
Early Forewords, Afterwords, and Critical Words
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: State University of New York Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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Address to the Reader
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Fairy tales’ whimsical plots and dark possibilities fascinate readers, who often visualize them as the products of rustic storytellers. Well-known theorizers of fairy tales like Bruno Bettelheim, Carl Jung, and Vladimir Propp respectively championed the principle that fairy tales communicate deeply embedded personal psychological truths, posited universal symbolism in the details of their...
I. An Introduction to Fairy Tales and the Boccaccian Literary Model
1. An Introduction to Fairy Tales
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Today, fairy tales, beloved by children and studied by adults, are a literary genre that provides models for short stories, novels, and films. In the Middle Ages princes and princesses, whose lives more often than not ended in isolation and suffering, populated long romances. Nonetheless, these medieval stories provided the framework for early modern and modern fairy tales with their...
2. Giovanni Boccaccio, The Genealogy of the Pagan Gods (begun circa 1350)
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Europe’s first fairy tales emerged in the shadow of Italy’s stylistic arbiter, Giovanni Boccaccio (1313–1375). Although collections of prose tales such as the thirteenth-century Novellino existed before the Decameron, Boccaccio founded the Italian novella tradition with his collection of one hundred tales enclosed within a narrative frame tale. During the sixteenth century, Boccaccio’s...
II. Fairy Tales in Italy:Early Authors, Theorists, and Critics
3. The Literary Fairy Tale in Italy
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The first European collections of literary fairy tales appeared in Italy with the publication of Giovan Francesco Straparola’s two-volume Pleasant Nights (Le piacevoli notti) in Venice (1551, 1553) and Giambattista Basile’s Tale of Tales (Lo cunto de li cunti) in Naples (1634–1636). These two texts contain some of the earliest versions of tales now considered classics. Straparola...
4. Giovan Francesco Straparola,The Pleasant Nights (1551, 1553)
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In the preface to volume 1 of the first edition The Pleasant Nights dated 1550, Orfeo dalla carta, the name appended to the book’s dedicatory letter,1 stated that Giovan Francesco Straparola (c. 1485–c. 1557) wrote down the stories as he had heard them told. In Renaissance Venice, readers would have understood the dedicatory letter as a standard introductory ploy, although...
5. Andrea Calmo, “Letter to Signora Frondosa”(1556)
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Andrea Calmo (1510–1571) was a plurilinguistic playwright who wrote using the dialects of Bergamo (bergamasco), Padua (padovano), as well as standard Italian, as did his contemporary Straparola in The Pleasant Nights.1 Calmo also published four volumes of letters in his native Venetian dialect: volume I (1547), volume II (1548), volume III (1552), and volume IV (1556). In a...
6. Girolamo Bargagli, Dialogue on Games That Are Played during the Sienese Veglie (1572, written 1563)
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In his Dialogue on Games That Are Played during the Sienese Veglie (Dialogo de’ giuochi che nelle vegghie senesi si usano di fare), Girolamo Bargagli (1537–1586) imagines a conversation among the members of Siena’s renowned Academy of the Intronati (the Dazed) concerning the games that the academy played with their city’s upper-class women during evening gatherings, known as...
7. Giambattista Basile, The Tale of Tales (Dedication for Day 1, 1634)
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A bookseller, Salvatore Scarano (flourished 1610–1634) wrote the dedication that prefaced Day 1 of the initial publication of Basile’s Lo cunto de li cunti (The Tale of Tales).1 There he referred to the collection as the Pentamerone, although no one knows whether this oblique reference to the Boccaccian model stemmed from Basile, his friends, his sister Adriana, or from Scarano...
8. Girolamo Brusoni, The Glories of the Incogniti,Or the Illustrious Men of the Academy of the“Unknown Gentlemen” (1647)
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The Glories of the Incogniti, Or the Illustrious Men of the Academy of the “Unknown Gentlemen” (Le glorie degli incogniti overo Gli Huomini Illustri Dell’Accademia dei Signori Incogniti) is a collection of biographies and engraved portraits of the members of one of the most influential literary academies in seventeenth-century Venice. The academy’s membership included writers and scholars residing in the city, as well as corresponding members who lived in cities...
9. Pompeo Sarnelli, Foreword to Giambattista Basile’s Pentamerone (1674) and Foreword to An Outing to Posillipo (1684)
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The writer and bishop Pompeo Sarnelli (1649–1724) was born in Bari (Puglia), Italy.1 He moved to Naples when he was around fourteen, becoming a priest at the age of twenty in 1669. A man of great erudition and intellectual curiosity, Sarnelli produced editions of a number of well-known Neapolitan authors of his time, such as Giovanni Villani, Giambattista della Porta, and...
10. Bartolomeo Lupardi, “Dedicatory Letter to Signor Giuseppe Spada” (1679)
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The publisher Bartolomeo Lupardi (1630–1700) prefaced a 1679 edition of Basile’s Tale of Tales with a dedicatory letter to the nobleman Signor Giuseppe Spada. Explaining in this short letter that children are oftentimes reluctant to accept the utile (useful) unless it is rendered dolce (sweet) for their consumption, Lupardi suggests that Basile’s book will be suitable for Spada’s...
11. Maddelena and Teresa Manfredi, and Teresa and Angiola Zanotti, The Gossip on the Chair (1742)
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In the partial translation of The Tale of Tales prepared by the Manfredi and Zanotti sisters, neither Basile’s name nor the title of his tale collection appears, only a reference to its origins as a translation of Neapolitan tales. Dedicated to the ladies of Bologna, the book—its title page, its dedicatory...
12. Ferdinando Galiani, On the Neapolitan Dialect ()1
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Ferdinando Galiani was born in 1728 in Chieti, in Abruzzo, Italy. As a young child he moved to Naples where he studied under the tutelage of his uncle Celestino, the archibishop of Taranto and an important cleric in the Kingdom of Naples. Early on he dedicated himself to the study of economics, and today he is perhaps best known as the author of a treatise on...
13. Luigi Serio, The Fart. Response to On the Neapolitan Dialect (1780)
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Luigi Serio (1744–1799) disputed Ferdinando Galiani’s objections to the Neapolitan dialect of Basile’s Pentamerone (the then usual title for Basile’s Tale of Tales) in an earthily worded polemic, “The Fart. Response to On the Neapolitan Dialect” (1780). Written in biting Neapolitan phrases, he refutes Galiani’s argument line by line and refers to him dismissively as Sir Abbot...
III. Fairy Tales and Fairyland Fictions in France:Establishing the Canon
14. Fairy Tales and Fairyland Fictions in France
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The nature of commentary on fairy tales and fairyland fictions in France differs dramatically from its history in form and content in Italy. There, authors and critics discussed the favola as a genre from the fourteenth century onward, emphasizing verisimilitude. Thus the magic elements in sixteenth-century restoration and rise fairy-tale plots elicited negative criticism. In contrast...
15. Charles Perrault, Griselda, Novella, with the Tale of Donkeyskin and That of the Ridiculous Wishes. Fourth Edition (1695)1
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Perrault’s book contained three small works. The first was “Griselda,” a moral tale. In terms of its narrative history the tale had begun its life as the concluding story in Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron. Boccaccio’s friend Francesco Petrarch infused it with misogynistic views when he translated it into Latin. In this form it coursed throughout Europe, where local writers translated it...
16. Charles Perrault, Tales of My Mother Goose (1695)
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The opening pages of Perrault’s 1695 manuscript Contes de ma Mère L’Oye (Tales of My Mother Goose) consisted of a dedicatory letter to Mademoiselle, Élisabeth-Charlotte d’Orléans (1676–1744). There Perrault wrote that “a Child took pleasure in composing the Tales in this collection.” This statement may be construed in several ways. One could see it as a reference to...
17. Marie-Jeanne Lhéritier de Villandon, Diverse Works1 (1696)
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Marie-Jeanne Lhéritier de Villandon was born in Paris in 1664, daughter of the erudite royal historian Nicolas Lhéritier, who fostered his daughter’s education in literature and history. Welcomed into the highest social circles with her education and her ancient aristocratic lineage, but with only modest financial means at her disposal, Mlle Lhéritier required financial support...
18. Catherine Bernard, “Prince Rosebush” and“Ricky of the Tuft” in Inès of Cordova: A Spanish Novel (1696)1
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“Ricky of the Tuft” (Riquet à la Houppe) by Catherine Bernard (1662–1712) has an entire kingdom of gnomes, and her “Prince Rosebush” (Le Prince Rosier) has a guardian fairy, fairyland paraphernalia, and magical transformations. But like many fairyland fictions, both “Ricky of the Tuft” and “Prince Rosebush” end badly, with marriage producing not happiness, but deep disappointment...
19. Mercure galant, Extract from The History of the Marquise / Marquis of Banneville (September 1696)
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From L’Histoire de la marquise-marquis de Banneville (The History of the Marquise1 / Marquis of Banneville) the editor of the Mercure galant, Donneau de Vise, excerpted a section dealing with the composition of a tale (conte). It should be borne in mind that the conte in question was not a magic-filled fairy tale, but a late-seventeenth-century textual descendant of...
20. Charles Perrault, Histories, or Tales of Past Times, with Morals (1697) License
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By the time Claude Barbin published Perrault’s Histoires in 1697, most of its stories had been circulating informally for a few years. Some had been presented before the Académie Française and had been republished in the Mercure galant, and others had been presented to Louis XIV’s niece, Mademoiselle...
21. [Editor] Mercure galant, Presentation of Histories, or Tales of Past Times1 (January 1697)
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Although Perrault is not explicitly named as the author of the Histoires ou contes du temps passé (Histories, or Tales of Past Times), the announcement of its publication appeared directly after the announcement of Perrault’s final volume of Parallèle and the first volume of his new project, Hommes illustres. The fictive anonymity of the book’s author may have been part of...
22. Marie-Catherine1 d’Aulnoy, Tales of the Fairies (1697)2 and New Tales, or The Fashionable Fairies (1698)3
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Mme d’Aulnoy’s first magical fiction was “L’Île de Félicité” (The Isle of Happiness), which she embedded in her 1690 novel Histoire d’Hipolyte, comte de Duglas.4 It was not, “properly speaking, a fairy tale,” to quote Nadine Jasmin.5 Like d’Aulnoy’s subsequent tale, “Le Nain jaune” (The Yellow Dwarf ), its protagonists passed between the parallel worlds of fairyland and the familiar...
23. Charlotte Rose de La Force, “Notice Concerning the Following Story” in The Tales of the Tales1 (1698)
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The Tales of the Tales was printed and ready for sale on 23 December 1697 but appeared with the title page date of 1698, an anticipatory dating that probably indicates that the volume was marketed for the Christmas season of 1697–1698. Its author, Charlotte de La Force (1646–17242), had been granted a privilege on 27 July 1697, and thus would have composed The Tales...
24. Henriette Julie de Murat, Sublime and Allegorical Histories (1699)1
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Mme Henriette Julie de Castelnau, the Countess de Murat (1670–1716), wrote breathless dedicatory letters to the Dower Princess of Conti on the opening pages of her first two books, Contes de Fées (Tales of Fairies, 1698) and Les Nouveaux Contes des Fées (The New Tales of the Fairies, also 1698).2 The Dower Princess Marie-Anne de Bourbon (1666–1739) was even closer...
25. Abbé Pierre de Villiers, Conversations about the Contes de Fées and some other works of our time,to serve as an antidote to bad taste, dedicated tothe gentlemen of the Académie Française (1699)1
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In 1699, at the height of the French fairy-tale vogue, the Abbé de Villiers (1648–1728) published a slim duodecimo pamphlet, Entretiens sur Les Contes de Fées et sur quelques autres ouvrages du temps, pour servir de préservatif contre le mauvais goût (Conversations about the Contes de Fées and some other works of our time, to serve as an antidote to bad taste). The Abbé was known...
26. Antoine Galland, Thousand and One Nights.Arab Tales Translated into French (1704–1717)
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A scholar of Near and Middle Eastern languages and culture, Antoine Galland (1646?–1715) lived and traveled in the eastern Mediterranean and in the 1670s served as secretary to Monsieur Gabriel Joseph de la Vergne de Guilleragues (1628–1685), ambassador to the Ottoman empire.1 In Constantinople he also tutored Guilleragues’s gifted daughter, Marie-Anne (1657?–1737). She...
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Page Count: 268
Publication Year: 2012