The Pentamerone: Giambattista Basile: Basile’s collection, Lo cunto de li cunti ( ; “The Story of Stories”; best Italian translation B. Croce, ; best English. Lo cunto de li cunti (Il Pentamerone): Testo conforme alla prima stampa del MDCXXXIV – VI;, a cura di Benedetto Croce, Napoli, pei tipi del Cav. A second strand in the European fairy tale tradition emerged in Naples in Lo cunto de li cunti over lo trattenemiento de li peccerille by Giambattista Basile (c.

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The Pentamerone | work by Basile |

The Pentamerone Neapolitan subtitle: Lo cunto de li cunti”The Tale of Tales” is a seventeenth-century fairy tale collection by Italian poet and courtier Giambattista Basile. The stories in the Pentamerone were collected by Basile and published posthumously in two volumes by his sister Adriana in NaplesItaly, in and under the pseudonym Gian Alesio Abbatutis.

These stories were later adapted by Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimmthe latter making extensive, acknowledged use of Basile’s collection. While other collections of stories have included nasile that would be termed fairy tales, his work is the first collection in which all the stories fit in that single category.

The style of the stories is heavily Baroque, with many metaphorical usages.

This has been interpreted as a satire on Baroque style, but as Basile praised the style, and used it in his other works, it appears to have no ironic intention. Although the work fell into il, the Brothers Grimmin their third edition of Grimm’s Fairy Talespraised it highly as dee first national collection of fairy tales, fitting their romantic nationalist views on fairy tales, and as capturing the Neapolitan voice.

This drew a great deal of attention to the work. This collection Basile’s Pentamerone was for a long time the best and richest that had been found by any nation.

folk tales and fairy tales, lo cunto de li cunti, and giambattista basile

Not only were the traditions at that time more complete in themselves, but the author had a special talent for collecting them, and besides that an intimate knowledge of the dialect. The stories are told with hardly any break, and the tone, at least in the Neapolitan tales, is perfectly caught We may therefore look baisle this collection of fifty tales as the basis of many others; for although it was not so in actual fact, bsaile was indeed not known beyond the country in which it appeared, and was never translated into French, it still has all the importance of a basis, owing to the coherence of its traditions.


Two-thirds of them are, so far as their principal incidents are concerned, to be found in Germany, and are current there at this very day. Basile has not allowed himself to make any alteration, scarcely even any addition of importance, and that gives his work a special value — Wilhelm Grimm.

Giambattista Basile

The tales of Giambattista Basile are set in Basilicata and Campaniawhere he spent most of his life at the local nobles. Among the places related to the stories we find the city of Acerenza and the Castle cjnti Lagopesolethe latter connected to the fairy tale Rapunzel.

It is structured around a fantastic frame storyin which fifty stories are related over the course of five days, in analogy with the ten-day structure of the much earlier Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio The frame story is that of a cursed, melancholy princess named Zoza “mud” or “slime” in Neapolitan, but also used as a term of endearment. She cannot laugh, no matter what her father does to amuse her, so he sets up a fountain of oil by the door, thinking people slipping in the oil would make her laugh.

An old woman tried to gather oil, a page boy broke her jug, and the old woman grew so angry that she danced about, and Zoza laughed at her. The old woman cursed her to marry only the prince of Round-Field, whom she could only wake by filling a pitcher with tears in three days.

With some aid from fairies, who also give her gifts, Zoza found the prince and the pitcher, and nearly filled the pitcher when she fell asleep. A Moorish slave steals it, finishes filling it, and claims the prince. This frame story in itself is a fairy tale, combining motifs that will appear in other stories: The now-pregnant slave-queen demands at the impetus of Zoza’s fairy gifts that her husband tell her stories, or else she would crush the unborn child.


The husband hires ten female storytellers to keep her amused; disguised among them is Zoza. Each tells five stories, most of which are more suitable to courtly, rather than juvenile, audiences. The Moorish woman’s treachery is revealed in the final story related, suitably, by Zozaand she is buried, pregnant, up to her neck in the ground and left to die.

Zoza and the Prince live happily ever after. Many of these fairy tales are the oldest known variants in existence.

Pentamerone – Wikipedia

Another English translation was made from Croce’s cunt by Norman N. A new, modern translation by Nancy L. Canepa was published in by Wayne State University Pressand was later released as a Penguin Classics paperback in The Italian film Tale of Talesdirected by Matteo Garroneis generally based on stories from the collection.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Translated by Nancy L. Canepa, illustrated by Carmelo Lettere, foreword by Jack Zipes. Wayne State University Press. From Court to Forest: Albanese, Angela, Metamorfosi del Cunto di Basile.

Traduzioni, riscritture, adattamenti, Ravenna, Longo, University of Chicago Press. Retrieved cjnto March The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: From Straparola and Basile to the Brothers Grimm. Swann Jones, Steven The Magic Mirror of Imagination. The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.

Lo cunto de li cunte. Retrieved from ” https: Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons. This page was last edited on 23 Decemberat By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

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