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Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/20

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PREFACE.

press nearly at the same time,—one into German by Mr. Felix Liebrecht, and the present one into English.

My attention was first particularly drawn to the Pentamerone in the year 1834, by the publication of Mr. Keightley's Tales and Popular Fictions, in which, and in his Fairy Mythology, he has given a translation of several of these stories. I had great difficulty in obtaining a copy of the work, which is very scarce in this country; but at length, through the kindness of a friend, I procured one from Naples.[1] From that time to the present I have continued the translation of it at intervals of leisure, as inclination prompted, and have had about twenty of the stories lying by me nearly completed for several years. I had however no definite intention of giving them to the press, until the publication of my selection from the Kinder- und Haus-Märchen suggested to me the wish to give this volume of Neapolitan tales as a companion to the German collection.[2] When I first began to translate, unaided by any vocabulary, the difficulties appeared insurmountable, not only from the peculiarities of the dialect,

  1. Even in Naples the work is almost unknown, and very scarce.
  2. I had in consequence been some time engaged in revising and completing my manuscript, and had actually two proof-sheets of the work lying before me, when I was informed that a German translation of the Pentamerone was announced. I instantly sent to Germany for a copy, and waited with no ordinary anxiety to see the execution of a work to which I had given so much thought and labour. At the same time I at once resolved to complete my translation independently from the Neapolitan. This plan I have scrupulously followed; line by line, and word by word, it has carefully been rendered from the original. I had neither the aid of Galiani's Treatise on the Neapolitan Dialect, nor of the Vocabolario Napoletano, until within the last few months, when the latter work was lent me by a friend. In fact the only assistance I had was derived from Fasano's 'Tasso Napoletano,' in which I studied the dialect by comparison.