Or Entertainment for Little Ones
Exhilarating . . . Invaluable . . . Vivid and fascinating . . . The body count is so high that its lucky our dimwitted heroes and goodhearted fairies always seem to have convenient potions on hand to paste everyones 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 The first authored collection of literary fairy tales in Western Europe . . . [In Basile] we have the exuberance, outlandishness, and hilarity of an Italian Rabelais, or a deformed Neapolitan Shakespeare, as Calvino called him. . . . The text teems with a good-tempered, baroque liveliness and endless allusions to Neapolitan customs of every kind. It is a unique reading experience. . . . [The translator] deliver[s] a highly readable prose that mixes modern vulgarity with a vaguely proverbial aplomb (every piece of shit has its own smell), often refashioning old Neapolitan sayings into something credibly contemporary (they were given pizza for pasty), and never failing to use footnotes to offer the curious reader a sense of the rich life beneath the surface of the story. . . . She gives us an entire world, and gives it in the liveliest possible way. Tim Parks, The New York Review of Books 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
Giambattista Basile (1575-1632) was born to a middle-class family just outside of Naples, Italy. A poet, academic, and court administrator, he is most remembered for collecting the first set of European fairy tales, published by his sister two years after his death.