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Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/23

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PREFACE.

humour to indulge is wholly inadmissible at the present day in a work intended for the general reader; the moral sense of our age is happily too refined and elevated to tolerate indelicacy. At the same time, as Dr. Grimm justly observes, such offensive license in style and language did not convey to the Neapolitan in the seventeenth century the same degree of coarseness as it does to our ears, simply because he connected with it very different ideas of propriety. Dr. Grimm advised Mr. Liebrecht to omit all the objectionable portions of the work in his translation, and I regret that he has not done so. I respect his scruples as a scholar to mar the integrity of the work; nevertheless, as all the most valuable portion may safely be retained, by the omission of some stories and the occasional modification of expressions, I think he has needlessly restricted the circle of his readers, and rendered his work, like the original, a sealed book to all except the scholar and literary student. For these reasons, and acting upon an opposite principle, I have omitted all those stories which I considered objectionable, and carefully removed all matter of offence.

In conclusion, let me express the hope that this work may find some readers inclined, with me, to attach to it a more serious interest than belongs to a mere collection of children's stories. "At the present day," says Dr. Grimm, "no excuse is required for applying to popular tradition the same earnest and accurate research which we have at length come to bestow upon the language and songs of the people at large. These stories may continue, as they have so long