Italian Folk Tales

Italian Folk Tales

4.17 (3,040 ratings by Goodreads)
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Who but Italo Calvino could have selected two hundred of Italy's traditional folktales and retold them so wondrously? The reader is lured into a world of clearly Italian stamp, where kings and peasants, saints and ogres - along with an array of the most extraordinary plants and animals - disport themselves against the rich background of regional customs and history. Whether the tone is humorous and earthy, playful and nonsensical, or noble and mysterious, the drama unfolds strictly according to the joyous logic of the imagination.Chosen one of the "New York Times's" ten best books in the year of its original publication, "Italian Folktales" immediately won a cherished place among lovers of the tale and vaulted Calvino into the ranks of the great folklorists like the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen. In this collection Calvino combines a sensibility attuned to the fantastical with a singular writerly ability to capture the visions and dreams of a people.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 763 pages
  • 165.1 x 236.22 x 50.8mm | 1,270.05g
  • Harcourt Publishers Group (Australia) Pty.Ltd
  • Marrickville, Australia
  • English, Italian
  • Reissue
  • 0151457700
  • 9780151457700

Review Text

Italo Calvino was profoundly influenced by the oral tradition of storytelling in Italy. In Italian Folktales, he collected and retold with incomparable deftness, zest and humour, a rich sequence of fables and stories about defeated ogres, pots of gold, magic donkeys, mischievous imps and mysterious, wonder-working fairies. Calvino reclaimed the territory of magic and enchantment from exclusive occupation by children. Since his death, the trend towards rediscovering traditional legends and tales has grown even stronger. Fairy lore and mythology open for writers - and for their readers - a way into the past of identity; mythic images and incidents permeate language and culture and are intertwined inextricably with the history of events. It's difficult to think of Shakespeare without Ariel or Hamlet's father's ghost, or of W B Yeats without his spectral cast of Celtic heroes and heroines. Reviewed by novelist, critic and cultural historian Marina Warner (Kirkus UK)
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Rating details

3,040 ratings
4.17 out of 5 stars
5 43% (1,303)
4 36% (1,103)
3 17% (523)
2 3% (92)
1 1% (19)
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