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Stories from the Pentamerone

By Giambattista Basile
Translated by John Edward Taylor
Illustrated by George Cruikshank

Pentamerone Cover


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We are proud to publish the first Neapolitan/English dual-language book, making Neapolitan accessible to a broader public.

Neapolitan was the national language of the Kingdom of Naples and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies before the unification of Italy, and it is still spoken in most of southern Italy. This dual-language book makes this language easy enough to understand that anyone can sample it.

The Pentamerone, written in the seventeenth century, was the first collection of fairy tales, two hundred years before the Grimm brothers published their famous collection. This book contains the earliest known versions of the stories we know as Rapunzel and Hansel and Gretel, plus ten other tales that are equally charming.

George Cruikshank was the most popular Victorian book illustrator, loved for his illustrations of the works of Dickens and of many other authors.

“This collection was for a long time the best and richest that had been found by any nation. Not only were the traditions at that time more complete in themselves, but the author had a special talent for collecting them, and besides that an intimate knowledge of the dialect. ... the tone, at least in the Neapolitan tales, is perfectly caught....”

—Wilhelm Grimm