Giambattista Basile
The Tale of Tales


Fairy tales about Cinderella, Puss in Boots and Sleeping Beauty are known to everyone. Having overcome political and linguistic barriers, they entered European culture in the same way as Homer's poems, Dante's Divine Comedy and Shakespeare's dramas.  Fairy tales, strongly associated with the names of Charles Perrault, Carlo Gozzi and the brothers Grimm, originate in five volumes of "Tales of Fairy Tales" - a book published in 1636 in Naples.  The works of the poet and writer Giambattista Basile (1566-1632) influenced all the major storytelling writers of our continent, their traces are found in Pushkin's fairy tales, in Ershov's "Humpbacked Horse" and in Bazhov's "Ural Tales". Now, after almost four centuries, the "Tale of Fairy Tales" has been translated into Russian. Basile refracts eternal human feelings in the whimsical prism of a fairy tale, while simultaneously painting a picture of his epoch and environment that is striking in its breadth. The "Fairy Tale of Fairy Tales" is the richest source on South Italian everyday life of the beginning of the XVII century. According to it, you can make a voluminous collection of proverbs and sayings, a list of dances (both court and folk), a catalog of children's and card games, a dictionary of urban and soldier slang. From the bright and rough material of the surrounding life, Basile with tenderness and love creates a bizarre and harsh world where sorrows and dangers are side by side with miracles and magic.

Giambattista Basile, at first a hired soldier, and then an officer in the army of the Republic of Venice, was a court poet, organizer of masquerades of Prince Luigi Carafa di Stillano. The book of fairy tales left in the manuscript provided him with immortality, became a bright, truly symbolic phenomenon in the cultural history of Naples, almost for the first time revealing to the world – accurately, strongly and reliably – his unique and timeless appearance.

ISBN 978-5-89059-487-7