The Facetious Nights of Straparola

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The Facetious Nights of Straparola (1550-1555; Italian: Le piacevoli notti), also known as The Nights of Straparola, is a two-volume collection of 75[1] stories by Italian author and fairy-tale collector Giovanni Francesco Straparola. Modeled after Boccaccio's Decameron, it is significant as often being called the first European storybook to contain fairy-tales;[2] it would influence later fairy-tale authors like Charles Perrault and Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.


The Facetious Nights of Straparola was first published in Italy between 1550–53[1] under the title Le piacevoli notti ("The Pleasant Nights") containing 74 stories. In 1555 the stories were published in a single volume in which one of the tales was replaced with two new tales, bringing the total to 75.[1] Straparola was translated into Spanish in 1583. In 1624 it was placed on the Index of Prohibited Books.[1]

The work was modeled on Boccaccio's Decameron with a frame narrative and novellas, but it took an innovative approach by also including folk and fairy tales.[1] In the frame narrative, participants of a party on the island of Murano, near Venice, tell each other stories that vary from bawdy to fantastic.[3] The narrators are mostly women, while the men, among whose ranks are included historical men of letters such as Pietro Bembo and Bernardo Cappello, listen.[1] The 74 original tales are told over 13 nights, five tales are told each night except the eighth (six tales) and the thirteenth (thirteen tales).[1] Songs and dances begin each night, and the nights end with a riddle or enigma.[1] The tales include folk and fairy-tales (about 15); Boccaccio-like novellas with themes of trickery and intrigue; and tragic and heroic stories.[1]

The 15 fairy tales were influential with later authors, some were the first recorded instances of now-famous stories, like "Puss in Boots".[1] Many of the tales were later collected or retold in Giambattista Basile’s The Tale of Tales (1634–36) and Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm Grimm's Fairy Tales (1812–15).[1]

Fairy tales[edit]

Fairy tales that originally appeared in Nights of Straparola, with later adaptations by Giambattista Basile, Madame d'Aulnoy, Charles Perrault, Carlo Gozzi, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Nancy Canepa. "Straparola, Giovan Francesco (c. 1480–1558)" in The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales and Fairy Tales, 3-volumes, edited by Donald Haase, Greenwood Press, 2008, pages 926–27.
  2. ^ Opie, Iona; Opie, Peter (1974), The Classic Fairy Tales, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-211559-6  See page 20. The claim for earliest fairy-tale is still debated, see for example Jan M. Ziolkowski, Fairy tales from before fairy tales: the medieval Latin past of wonderful lies, University of Michigan Press, 2007. Ziolkowski examines Egbert of Liège's Latin beast poem Fecunda natis (The Richly Laden Ship, c. 1022/24), the earliest known version of "Little Red Riding Hood". Further info: Little Red Pentecostal, Peter J. Leithart, July 9, 2007.
  3. ^ Jack Zipes, The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: From Straparola and Basile to the Brothers Grimm, p 841, ISBN 0-393-97636-X
  4. ^ "Donkeyskin and Doralice". Retrieved 1 November 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Ruth B. Bottigheimer, Fairy Godfather: Straparola, Venice, and the Fairy Tale Tradition (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002).

External links[edit]