Laura Gonzenbach

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Laura Gonzenbach (1842–1878) was a Swiss fairy tale collector, active in Messina, who collected fairy tales in a number of Sicilian dialects.

Gonzenbach was born in a Swiss-German community of Sicily, to a German-speaking mercantile family. (Her sister, Magdelena, began a school in Messina.) She became well educated and gained renown for the stories she gathered from a diverse range of sources, often other women.[1] After the prompting of Otto Hartwig for material to append to a historical survey of the country,[2] she produced what would become an important two volume collection, Sicilianische Märchen (Sicilian folk-tales), published in 1870.[3][4] Her seminal works collected tales given verbally, by peasants or other working and middle classes; the assemblage is noted as one of the few major collections of the nineteenth century to be compiled by a woman.[1]


  1. ^ a b Lee, Linda J. (2008). Donald Haase, ed. The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales and Fairy Tales: G-P. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 417. ISBN 978-0-313-33443-6. Retrieved 12 February 2011. 
  2. ^ Aus Sicilien: Cultur- und Geschichtsbilder, Cassel und Göttingen (1867-1869)
  3. ^ The Robber with a Witch's Head: Review by Francesca Orestano, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy.
  4. ^ Zipes, Jack David (2003). "Laura Gonzenbach and Her Forgotten Treasure of Sicilian Fairy Tales". Marvels & Tales. 17 (2): 239–242. ISSN 1536-1802. doi:10.1353/mat.2003.0038.