Giuseppe Pitrè, a nineteenth-century Sicilian physician, gathered an enormous wealth of folk and fairy tales as he traveled and treated the poor throughout Palermo. He also received tales from friends and scholars throughout the island of Sicily. A dedicated folklorist, whose significance ranks alongside the Brothers Grimm, he published a 25-volume collection of Sicilian folk tales, legends, songs, and customs between 1871 and 1914. Though first published in their original Sicilian dialect, these tales have never before been translated, collected, and published in English until now.
This historic two-volume set collects 300 and 100 variants of his most entertaining and most important folk and fairy tales, along with lively, vivid illustrations by Carmelo Lettere. In stark contrast to the more literary ambitions of the Grimms' tales, Pitré’s possess a charming, earthy quality that reflect the customs, beliefs, and superstitions of the common people more clearly than any other European folklore collection of the nineteenth century.
Edited, translated, and with a critical introduction by world-renowned folk and fairy tale experts Jack Zipes and Joseph Russo, this collection will firmly establish Pitrè’s importance as a folklorist.
"[Zipes and Russo] provide insightful introductions, footnotes supplying cultural and historical information, vast endnotes, an alphabetical list of the tales, and an extensive bibliography. Illustrated by Carmelo Lettere, this resource will delight lovers of fairy tales as well as scholars. Essential." -CHOICE
"A century ago a Sicilian doctor, Giuseppe Pitrè, traveled the island gathering stories, songs, riddles, proverbs in different dialects. He blended the various versions of any given piece, polishing for sound, symbolism, historical clarity, emotional pitch. In these masterfully translated and arranged collections, Russo and Zipes offer us a peek at superstitions and fears of the occult, but also delight in rituals and ceremonies and acceptance of both the simple and the perverse. For anyone interested in human nature, these volumes are a treasure."—Donna Jo Napoli, Swarthmore College
"Jack Zipes and Joseph Russo have made Pitre's rich archive of Sicilian tales accessible to folklorists the world over. This collection is alive with kinetic energy and will have transformative effects on storytelling and its scholarly world."
—Maria Tatar, Harvard University, author of The Annotated Brothers Grimm and The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen
"This monumental translation invites us to discover one of the most important collections of folktales and fairy tales ever published. These two volumes of Sicilian tales collected by Giussepe Pitrè—expertly translated and annotated by Jack Zipes and Joseph Russo—will be an indispensable resource for scholars and an unending delight for all readers."
—Donald Haase, Wayne State University, editor of Marvel & Tales: Journal of Fairy-Tale Studies and The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales and Fairy Tales