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Italian Folktales
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message 1: by Jalilah (new) - added it

Jalilah | 4260 comments Mod
This thread is for Italian Folktales by Italo Calvino
Starting May 15 to July 14


Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
I've had a copy of this for a couple of years now but haven't gotten around to it yet.

I even bought a second Kindle copy when it was on sale last spring!


Margaret | 3434 comments Mod
I've had this collection for years and every now and then will read a tale from it. I'm glad to finally read all of them!

How are we going to work this group read, do you think? It has 200 tales, and it's almost 800 pages. Maybe just post about the ones that make us think?


Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
That's basically how we handled The Red Fairy Book. And it helped we somehow managed to stay more or less in sync despite not having a set schedule.

That might be a bit more difficult with this book though since it's twice the length. Even doing 2 months, that's still around 100 pages a week, or around 15 a day!


Margaret | 3434 comments Mod
I may have to get started early!


message 6: by Jalilah (new) - added it

Jalilah | 4260 comments Mod
Margaret wrote: "I've had this collection for years and every now and then will read a tale from it. I'm glad to finally read all of them!

How are we going to work this group read, do you think? It has 200 tales, ..."


I say we'll see. For this read the only other book, Bound is not that long. We can try and do it the way we did with the colored fairy books, but if we think it's necessary, create separate threads for sections.


Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
Margaret wrote: "I may have to get started early!"

Yep! Me too!
I'm very glad that I have fewer group reads than normal for May. It frees up a bit of time for this collection.


message 8: by Carole (new) - added it

Carole Weave-lane (writingnamecaroleweave-lane) | 101 comments Hello everyone, back on track again. i will be able read this one. it is readily available here. however it must have years ago, I did study him in Italian classes and literature I guess I need to begin again. I will acquire it and begin earlier. it is nice to be back. i have not been idle, and have submitted two short stories and reading a lot of Theodora's short stories and poems and Terri Windling as well.


Margaret | 3434 comments Mod
Carole wrote: "Hello everyone, back on track again. i will be able read this one. it is readily available here. however it must have years ago, I did study him in Italian classes and literature I guess I need ..."

Great! I read his If on a winter's night a traveler in a few lit classes, and I think it's amazing what he's done here. I read the intro last night, and he sifted through all the various folktales that had been recorded in all the Italian provinces and their dialects to put together the collection.

Also, I love Theodora Goss, if that's the Theodora you mean!


message 10: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Catelli | 831 comments Read the notes, too. He will go into how he pieced together the stories using flourishes from here, and a plot twist from there, on a basic story from this place.

And he choose, for instance, his Snow White variant on the grounds this was the one that didn't have dwarves.


Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
Despite my best intentions of starting this last week, I just started it today.

And I've got to say I've heard multiple variations on that first story (Dauntless Little John). It's a pretty popular ghost story.


message 12: by Jalilah (last edited May 15, 2015 01:02PM) (new) - added it

Jalilah | 4260 comments Mod
Melanti wrote: "Despite my best intentions of starting this last week, I just started it today.

And I've got to say I've heard multiple variations on that first story (Dauntless Little John). It's a pretty popul..."


I wanted to start earlier too, but my library copy has not arrived yet, even though there was no one ahead of me when I ordered it.


message 13: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Catelli | 831 comments Melanti wrote: "And I've got to say I've heard multiple variations on that first story (Dauntless Little John). "

You're going to get a LOT of that. Indeed, one charm of these big regional fairy tale collection is seeing the local variations of a universal tale.


message 14: by Becca (new)

Becca Price (beccaprice) | 24 comments I'm so delighted this book was selected, because I never would have heard of it otherwise. Yeah, some of them are variants of some of the classic fairy tales, and some of them seem to be minor variants of some that he'd already included, but it was all interesting, and I agree, you need to read his notes on how they were pieced together.


Margaret | 3434 comments Mod
Mary wrote: "Melanti wrote: "And I've got to say I've heard multiple variations on that first story (Dauntless Little John). "

You're going to get a LOT of that. Indeed, one charm of these big regional fairy ..."


I've read the first 20 tales, and am loving making connections between these and other fairy tales I've read, and where and how they differ. I bought an old, beat-up copy and am making lots of notes in the margins whenever I connect a tale to another, or have any other thoughts! There are lots of funny images and clever twists.

My plan is to read twenty at a time, then a novel, then twenty more. I might end up running behind, but I'm thoroughly enjoying these tales.


Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
Margaret wrote: "My plan is to read twenty at a time, then a novel, then twenty more. I might end up running behind, but I'm thoroughly enjoying these tales. ..."

I was thinking about reading something really long and using these tales in between chapters or when I need a break - but that might end up meaning that I'd need to only get two books read in a month and that seems rather extreme!

I don't really have a plan yet as to how I'm going to read this...
I'd normally just work a story or two in during times when I have a few free minutes but I already have a book I'm reading that way.


message 17: by Jalilah (last edited May 16, 2015 03:57AM) (new) - added it

Jalilah | 4260 comments Mod
Melanti wrote: "Margaret wrote: "My plan is to read twenty at a time, then a novel, then twenty more. I might end up running behind, but I'm thoroughly enjoying these tales. ..."

I was thinking about reading some..."


I usually can't make decisions like that until I get started reading. Some books I just have to read straight through, others I can take a break from.

Should we create several threads? I don't have my copy yet, so I couldn't suggest how to divide it up.


Margaret | 3434 comments Mod
Should we create several threads? I don't have my copy yet, so I could suggest how to divide it up.

I think it's fine in just 1 thread. I'm dividing them up on my own just to make sure I give myself time to read them while continuing to read other things.


Michele | 520 comments I'm so excited we're reading this! I have a copy that I bought decades ago and kept because it was such a wonderful collection. I haven't re-read it in a long time, so this is a great opportunity. Plus I get to talk about it with people, yay!!


message 20: by Jalilah (last edited Jun 08, 2015 02:26PM) (new) - added it

Jalilah | 4260 comments Mod
Do you all have any absolute favourites? I still have not started yet. I can't stop reading Louise Erdrich books!


message 21: by Katy (new) - added it

Katy (kathy_h) | 820 comments Just got back in town after a week out camping. Haven't started yet, but do have a copy to read.


message 22: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Catelli | 831 comments I rather like "The Ship With Three Decks" but I'm not sure it's my favorite.


message 23: by Jalilah (new) - added it

Jalilah | 4260 comments Mod
Mary wrote: "I rather like "The Ship With Three Decks" but I'm not sure it's my favorite."

Good to know! I am asking because I won't have time to read all the stories this time. I have a library copy with others already waiting, so I won't be able to extend. I normally love these types of tales, but have been more in the mood for novels lately.


Margaret | 3434 comments Mod
Jalilah wrote: "Mary wrote: "I rather like "The Ship With Three Decks" but I'm not sure it's my favorite."

Good to know! I am asking because I won't have time to read all the stories this time. I have a library c..."


I'll post some of my favorites in the beginning later today. I haven't had a chance yet.


Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
I'm not sure I'm far enough into it yet to have real favorites, but I thought the ending for "The Happy Man's Shirt" (#39) was hilarious.

"The Cloven Youth" was interesting mostly because of of Calvino's novella The Cloven Viscount. I don't see much shared between them other than the concept of half a man and a fairy-tale-ish atmosphere, but I'm half tempted to re-read The Cloven Viscount and see if I can spot any further similarities.


Margaret | 3434 comments Mod
I've only read the first 43, but here are my favorites:

#5 "And Seven!" A funny Rumplestiltskin/Sleeping Beauty tale.
#18 "The Canary Prince." Not necessarily one of my favorites, but it had a nice ending that I liked, where the daughter has some agency.
#24 "The Three Cottages." This is an interesting version of the 3 little pigs. I don't think I'd ever read any other version of that tale.
#29 "The Three Crones." This is probably my favorite so far, and I've told it to a couple people. I think it's hilarious and messed up!
#31 "Silent for Seven Years." Similar to Six Swans--a tale I really enjoy. Maybe my second favorite.

I also thought "The Happy Man's Shirt" was funny:)

"The Ship with Three Decks" (#3) is also a great one, agreeing with Mary. It has lots of common fairy tale tasks and tropes meshed together in ways I haven't seen before.

I'll read bits of this all summer, so I hope we continue the discussion for a while!


message 27: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Catelli | 831 comments "The King's Son in the Henhouse" and "The Handmade King" are also good.


Michele | 520 comments Margaret wrote: "I've only read the first 43..."

lol that right there tells you something about the book :)


message 29: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Catelli | 831 comments Michele wrote: "Margaret wrote: "I've only read the first 43..."

lol that right there tells you something about the book :)"


Yeah, national collections tend to be monsters.


Margaret | 3434 comments Mod
Michele wrote: "Margaret wrote: "I've only read the first 43..."

lol that right there tells you something about the book :)"


Seriously! I love it though--the sheer number and variety of stories--the capacity of storytelling in we humans.


Michele | 520 comments Margaret wrote: "I love...the sheer number and variety of stories--the capacity of storytelling in we humans."

I ran across this great quote about stories the other day:

"I would ask you to remember only this one thing.... The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put these stories in each other's memory. This is how people care for themselves." - Barry Lopez


Margaret | 3434 comments Mod
Michele wrote: "Margaret wrote: "I love...the sheer number and variety of stories--the capacity of storytelling in we humans."

I ran across this great quote about stories the other day:

"I would ask you to remem..."


Lovely! I'm writing that one down. I've read a couple essays by Lopez, but I'd like to read more.


message 33: by Jalilah (new) - added it

Jalilah | 4260 comments Mod
Margaret wrote: "I've only read the first 43, but here are my favorites:

#5 "And Seven!" A funny Rumplestiltskin/Sleeping Beauty tale.
#18 "The Canary Prince." Not necessarily one of my favorites, but it had a nic..."


Mary wrote: ""The King's Son in the Henhouse" and "The Handmade King" are also good."

Thanks for the recomendations everyone. I'll try and at least read those ones before I return my copy!


message 34: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Catelli | 831 comments Margaret wrote: "I've only read the first 43, but here are my favorites:

#5 "And Seven!" A funny Rumplestiltskin/Sleeping Beauty tale."


pulls out pedant hat. dons it.

"And Seven!" is actually not Rumplestiltskin but a mix of Rumplestiltskin and The Three Spinners.
takes off hat


Margaret | 3434 comments Mod
Mary wrote: "Margaret wrote: "I've only read the first 43, but here are my favorites:

#5 "And Seven!" A funny Rumplestiltskin/Sleeping Beauty tale."

pulls out pedant hat. dons it.

"And Seven!" is actually n..."


Ah, The Three Spinners! I remember that one now.


Michele | 520 comments Margaret wrote: "Ah, The Three Spinners! I remember that one now."

Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos, yes? Or perhaps Orddu, Orwen and Orgoch? Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which? So many triple ladies :)


message 37: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Catelli | 831 comments These ones

I think they get around and also appear here.


Michele | 520 comments Mary wrote: "These ones..."

Ah, ok, not the ones I was thinking of then :) Interesting that this particular tale has such a happy ending for the lazy, deceitful girl. One wonders what she did to deserve it!


message 39: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Catelli | 831 comments A lot of fairy tales have the hero(ine) triumph whether deserving or not. There's an Italian Cinderella -- not in this collection -- who's suffering under a stepmother and whose governess persuades her to murder the stepmother and talk her father into marrying the governess. Yes, it gets worse for her, but she does triumph Cinderella-style in the end.


Margaret | 3434 comments Mod
Michele wrote: "Mary wrote: "These ones..."

Ah, ok, not the ones I was thinking of then :) Interesting that this particular tale has such a happy ending for the lazy, deceitful girl. One wonders what she did to..."


I think that's part of why the tale is funny--it subverts expectations.


message 41: by Jalilah (new) - added it

Jalilah | 4260 comments Mod
The tales everyone suggested are truly delightful! I wish I could keep the book longer ir better yet, had my own copy!
My favorite is The Canary Prince.


message 42: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Catelli | 831 comments Jalilah wrote: "The tales everyone suggested are truly delightful! I wish I could keep the book longer ir better yet, had my own copy!
My favorite is The Canary Prince."


That's another good one.


message 43: by Jalilah (new) - added it

Jalilah | 4260 comments Mod
I am struck by how often the sea plays a role in many of these tales, as opposed to the forest which is in many Northern European tales.
I liked the tale of the Crab Prince a lot!


message 44: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Catelli | 831 comments Oh yes. Even in tales where the hero would go underground, sometimes he sets sail instead.

"The Feathered Ogre" is a good one.


message 45: by Jalilah (new) - added it

Jalilah | 4260 comments Mod
In addition to my favorites The Canary Prince and The Crab Prince, I found 107. The Love of the Three Pomegranates and 15. The Parrot quite unusual and unique.
As others here pointed out already many tales resembles more well known Northern European fairy tales like 109. Bella Venezia 14.The Prince Who Married a Frog and 26.The Wolf and The Three Girls.
I will have to return this book to the library today, but will definitely reorder it.


message 46: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Catelli | 831 comments And "Bella Venezia" he carefully went for the tales with the least German influence -- innkeeper mother, and robbers in the forest.


message 47: by Jalilah (new) - added it

Jalilah | 4260 comments Mod
Mary wrote: "And "Bella Venezia" he carefully went for the tales with the least German influence -- innkeeper mother, and robbers in the forest."

I liked that he kept the kind of "twisted" elements of Snow White in it, like the girl living with 7 robbers and the prince falling in love with and keeping her dead body. Again we have the sea where the mother locks her up in a hut on the beach.


message 48: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Catelli | 831 comments I note that many of the tales resemble widespread fairy tales that happen not to be the Pop Top 20. "The Ship With Three Decks" is "Ferdinand the Faithful and Ferdinand the Unfaithful" except for the twist at the opening -- which itself appears also in "The Goosegirl" or "The Lord of Lorn and the False Steward." "The Feathered Ogre" is "The Devil's Three Golden Hairs," albeit with the person who helps him being also the love interest -- as in "The Master Maid."


Michele | 520 comments Very interesting observations. I keep meaning to get a copy of Propp's Morphology of the Folktale so I can do a better job identifying the types. Speaking of fairy tales types, check out this which I just found: Multilingual Folk Tale Database. You can go from ATU classification to representative story or from story to ATU classification. For example, "The Devil's Three Golden Hairs" is ATU 461 (supernatural tasks).


message 50: by Katy (new) - added it

Katy (kathy_h) | 820 comments This is a nice collection of tales, still reading -- it is one thick tome!


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