The Pleasant Nights - Volume 1

By Giovan Francesco Straparola
Edited with an Introduction by Donald Beecher

© 2012

Renowned today for his contribution to the rise of the modern European fairy tale, Giovan Francesco Straparola (c. 1480–c. 1557) is particularly known for his dazzling anthology The Pleasant Nights. Originally published in Venice in 1550 and 1553, this collection features seventy-three folk stories, fables, jests, and pseudo-histories, including nine tales we might now designate for ‘mature readers’ and seventeen proto-fairy tales. Nearly all of these stories, including classics such as ‘Puss in Boots,’ made their first ever appearance in this collection; together, the tales comprise one of the most varied and engaging Renaissance miscellanies ever produced. Its appeal sustained it through twenty-six editions in the first sixty years.

This full critical edition of The Pleasant Nights presents these stories in English for the first time in over a century. The text takes its inspiration from the celebrated Waters translation, which is entirely revised here to render it both more faithful to the original and more sparkishly idiomatic than ever before. The stories are accompanied by a rich sampling of illustrations, including originals from nineteenth-century English and French versions of the text.

As a comprehensive critical and historical edition, these volumes contain far more information on the stories than can be found in any existing studies, literary histories, or Italian editions of the work. Donald Beecher provides a lengthy introduction discussing Straparola as an author, the nature of fairy tales and their passage through oral culture, and how this phenomenon provides a new reservoir of stories for literary adaptation. Moreover, the stories all feature extensive commentaries analysing not only their themes but also their fascinating provenances, drawing on thousands of analogue tales going back to ancient Sanskrit, Persian, and Arabic stories.

Immensely entertaining and readable, The Pleasant Nights will appeal to anyone interested in fairy tales, ancient stories, and folk creations. Such readers will also enjoy Beecher’s academically solid and erudite commentaries, which unfold in a manner as light and amusing as the stories themselves.

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Product Details

  • Series: Lorenzo Da Ponte Italian Library
  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 792 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.7in x 9.3in
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SKU# SP003336

  • PUBLISHED AUG 2012

    From: $90.75

    Regular Price: $121.00

    ISBN 9781442644267
  • PUBLISHED AUG 2012

    From: $90.75

    Regular Price: $121.00

Quick Overview

Immensely entertaining and readable, The Pleasant Nights will appeal to anyone interested in fairy tales, ancient stories, and folk creations.

The Pleasant Nights - Volume 1

By Giovan Francesco Straparola
Edited with an Introduction by Donald Beecher

© 2012

Renowned today for his contribution to the rise of the modern European fairy tale, Giovan Francesco Straparola (c. 1480–c. 1557) is particularly known for his dazzling anthology The Pleasant Nights. Originally published in Venice in 1550 and 1553, this collection features seventy-three folk stories, fables, jests, and pseudo-histories, including nine tales we might now designate for ‘mature readers’ and seventeen proto-fairy tales. Nearly all of these stories, including classics such as ‘Puss in Boots,’ made their first ever appearance in this collection; together, the tales comprise one of the most varied and engaging Renaissance miscellanies ever produced. Its appeal sustained it through twenty-six editions in the first sixty years.

This full critical edition of The Pleasant Nights presents these stories in English for the first time in over a century. The text takes its inspiration from the celebrated Waters translation, which is entirely revised here to render it both more faithful to the original and more sparkishly idiomatic than ever before. The stories are accompanied by a rich sampling of illustrations, including originals from nineteenth-century English and French versions of the text.

As a comprehensive critical and historical edition, these volumes contain far more information on the stories than can be found in any existing studies, literary histories, or Italian editions of the work. Donald Beecher provides a lengthy introduction discussing Straparola as an author, the nature of fairy tales and their passage through oral culture, and how this phenomenon provides a new reservoir of stories for literary adaptation. Moreover, the stories all feature extensive commentaries analysing not only their themes but also their fascinating provenances, drawing on thousands of analogue tales going back to ancient Sanskrit, Persian, and Arabic stories.

Immensely entertaining and readable, The Pleasant Nights will appeal to anyone interested in fairy tales, ancient stories, and folk creations. Such readers will also enjoy Beecher’s academically solid and erudite commentaries, which unfold in a manner as light and amusing as the stories themselves.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Lorenzo Da Ponte Italian Library
  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 792 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.7in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    ‘Beecher deserves full credit and admiration for having produced a superlative piece of work.’
    Joseph Russo
    Journal of Folklore Research; October 22, 2013

    ‘Beecher has produced a handsome edition of Water’s translation, and has thoroughly reworked the reference apparatus… His book is a distinctly valuable and scholarly contribution to the subject.’
    Ruth B. Bottigheimer
    Renaissance Quarterly vol 67:01:2014
  • Author Information

    Donald Beecher is a professor in the Department of English at Carleton University.

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