Abstract

Inspired by Ruth Bottigheimer’s 2002 book, Fairy Godfather: Straparola, Venice, and the Fairy Tale Tradition, this article examines her proposition that the sixteenth-century Italian author Giovanni Francesco Straparola invented the “rise tale,” in which a lowly hero or heroine climbs the socioeconomic ladder with the help of a magical benefactor. It investigates Bottigheimer’s evidence for this claim as well as her argument that Straparola’s literary invention was a projection of the emerging Italian middle class in the sixteenth century. Contrary to Bottigheimer’s proposition, it is found that tales with similar form were told in classical Greece and in medieval Europe and that the belief in magical fairies was known in Europe long before Straparola’s time.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-1882
Print ISSN
0021-8715
Pages
pp. 426-446
Launched on MUSE
2010-10-16
Open Access
No
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