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Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/19

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xi
PREFACE.

resemblance between some of the tales and the northern mythology mentioned by Dr. Grimm are most curious; as he well observes, "these are unquestionably the wonderful and last echoes of very ancient mythes, which have taken root over the whole of Europe, and opened in an unexpected manner passages of research which were considered to be closed up, and given the clue to the relationship of Fable in general."

Several writers have drawn largely upon the Pentamerone. Salvator Rosa gave a copy of the book to his friend Lorenzo Lippi, the Florentine artist, who embodied some of Basile's stories in his celebrated production, the "Malmantile racquistato," which first appeared in 1676,—a work, upon which, as Sismondi says, more pains and criticism have perhaps been bestowed than on any other Italian work, excepting the Divina Commedia. Carlo Gozzi in like manner borrowed materials from several tales in the Pentamerone, as the 'Cuorvo,' and 'Le tre Cetre,' which last is the basis of his drama, 'I tre Melarangole.'

It is not a little remarkable that so interesting a collection of tales, and one so popular that no less than ten editions of it appeared in Naples, had until the past year never been translated into any language out of Italy.[1] But a circumstance scarcely less remarkable is, that, after this lapse of above two centuries, two translations should have been made, quite independently of one another, and given to the

  1. An abridged and mutilated translation into the current language of Italy, appeared in Naples in 1754, and a reprint in 1769. Another translation into the Bolognese dialect appeared in 1742. Fernow also mentions a third into the Modenese.