In Giovan Francesco Straparola’s The Pleasant Nights, a group of men and women gather together in a villa on the Venetian island of Murano during Carnival to sing songs, tell tales, and solve riddles. A sixteenth-century bestseller, The Pleasant Nights is today a fundamental text for European folk and fairy tale studies, for alongside triumphal and tragic love stories, comical tales of practical jokes, and accounts of witty retorts, Straparola (1480?–1557?) placed some of the first fairy tales printed in Europe. Straparola’s eloquent female narrators and the fairy tales they recount became a model for a generation of French women writers in Parisian salons, who used the fairy tale to interrogate the gender norms of their day. This book presents the first new and complete English translation of Straparola’s tales and riddles to be published since the nineteenth century.
"Suzanne Magnanini offers a profound and interesting commentary on the significance of Straparola’s Piacevoli notti. Her scholarship is superb, her remarks are judicious and insightful, and her command of history and literary developments of the Renaissance period is comprehensive, drawing on fascinating parallels with the works of many other important authors, including the French salonnières, and also with developments in science and religion."
Jack Zipes, Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota
Author of The Irresistible Fairy Tale: The Cultural and Social History of a Genre
SUZANNE MAGNANINI is Associate Professor in the Department of French and Italian at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the author of Fairy-Tale Science: Monstrous Generation in the Tales of Straparola and Basile (University of Toronto Press, 2008).
Iter and the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2015
The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe: The Toronto Series 40
Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies 481
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