The Collected Sicilian Folk and Fairy Tales of Giuseppe by Giuseppe Pitre, Jack Zipes, Joseph Russo

By Giuseppe Pitre, Jack Zipes, Joseph Russo

Giuseppe Pitr?, a nineteenth-century Sicilian doctor, amassed a major wealth of folks and fairy stories as he traveled and handled the bad all through Palermo. He additionally got stories from acquaintances and students in the course of the island of Sicily. A committed folklorist, whose importance ranks along the Brothers Grimm, he released a 25-volume selection of Sicilian people stories, legends, songs, and customs among 1871 and 1914. even though first released of their unique Sicilian dialect, those stories have by no means prior to been translated, gathered, and released in English previously. This historical two-volume set collects three hundred and a hundred versions of his such a lot enjoyable and most vital people and fairy stories, besides full of life, brilliant illustrations by means of Carmelo Lettere. In stark distinction to the extra literary goals of the Grimms' stories, Pitr?’s own an enthralling, earthy caliber that replicate the customs, ideals, and superstitions of the typical humans extra essentially than the other ecu folklore number of the 19th century. Edited, translated, and with a severe advent through world-renowned people and fairy story specialists Jack Zipes and Joseph Russo, this assortment will firmly determine Pitr?’s value as a folklorist.

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In 1909 he established the first folklore museum, Il Museo Etnografico Siciliano, in a former convent on the outskirts of Palermo, and it housed all the tools, costumes, pottery, etchings, and other artifacts that Pitrè had personally collected over the years. Finally, thanks to Pitrè, the first chair in folklore, which he called Demopsicologia (psychology of the people), was founded in 1911 at the University of Palermo, and he taught an introductory course on the history of demopsicologia in 1911–12; his lectures were only recently published as La demopsicologia e la sua storia (The Psychology of the People and its History) in 2001, ninety years after he had delivered them.

A third possibility is that these stories were introduced into the local oral tradition much later by people who knew them from books, or who had heard them told by others whose ultimate source—perhaps going back over several generations of oral transmission—was a written version. There is no way to decide between these alternatives, or to say which themes from classical mythology came from which of these possible sources. What is clear is that these tales drew on material that had been in oral circulation long before Pitrè collected them, and that some curious and interesting survivals of Greek myths still existed as living story material in late nineteenth-century Sicily.

The tellers of these tales were non-literate, and so their style is oral rather than written. It is fluent, lively, straightforward, highly idiomatic, and often playful, a perfect medium for these flavorful stories. The language of these tales contains several different kinds of speech. We find many vivid folk idioms and metaphors;10 exclamations, intrusions, and other self-referential comments by the narrators; direct questions from the narrator to the audience; proverbs, onomatopoeia, rhymed verse, and sometimes even song.

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