Publication Date: October 9, 2012
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Though one of the best-known books in the world, Pinocchio at the same time remains unknown—linked in many minds to the Walt Disney movie that bears little relation to Carlo Collodi’s splendid original. That story is of course about a puppet who, after many trials, succeeds in becoming a “real boy.” Yet it is hardly a sentimental or morally improving tale. To the contrary, Pinocchio is one of the great subversives of the written page, a madcap genius hurtled along at the pleasure and mercy of his desires, a renegade who in many ways resembles his near contemporary Huck Finn.
Pinocchio the novel, no less than Pinocchio the character, is one of the great inventions of modern literature. A sublime anomaly, the book merges the traditions of the picaresque, of street theater, and of folk and fairy tales into a work that is at once adventure, satire, and a powerful enchantment that anticipates surrealism and magical realism. Thronged with memorable characters and composed with the fluid but inevitable logic of a dream, Pinocchio is an endlessly fascinating work that is essential equipment for life.
Geoffrey Brock’s acclaimed new translation is reissued in an edition for children with over fifty full-page watercolors by Fulvio Testa.
Carlo Collodi (1826–1890) was the pen name of Carlo Lorenzini. A volunteer in the Tuscan army during the 1848 and 1860 Italian wars of independence, Collodi founded a satirical weekly, Il Lampione—which was suppressed for a time by the Grand Duke of Tuscany—and became known as the author of novels, plays, and political sketches. His translation from the French of Charles Perrault’s fairy tales came out in 1876, and in 1881 his Storia di un burratino (Story of a Puppet) was published in installments in the Giornale per i bambini, appearing two years later in book form as The Adventures of Pinocchio. Collodi, whose writings include several readers for schoolchildren, died in 1890, unaware of the vast international success that his creation Pinocchio would eventually enjoy.
Fulvio Testa is one of Italy’s most distinguished artists and illustrators and has had many exhibitions in the United States and Europe. In addition to his own prizewinning titles, he has illustrated books by authors such as Anthony Burgess and Gianni Rodari.
Umberto Eco is a professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna and the author of numerous works of fiction, literary criticism, and philosophy. His most recent books are On Ugliness and the novel The Prague Cemetery.
Geoffrey Brock is the author of the award-wining poetry collection Weighing Light; the translator of books by Cesare Pavese, Roberto Calasso, and Umberto Eco; and the editor of The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Italian Poetry. He is currently on the faculty of the Programs in Creative Writing and Translation at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
Fulvio Testa is an internationally acclaimed painter as well as an author and illustrator of numerous children’s books including The Endless Journey, Too Much Garbage, A Long Trip to Z, and The Visit. He lives and works in New York City and Verona, Italy.
"'Though written in the nineteenth century, the original Pinocchio remains as readable as if it had been written in the twenty-first, so limpid and simple is its prose,' writes Umberto Eco in the introduction. Readers not ready to tackle the story in Italian, however, will be more than satisfied with Brock’s lovely translation, which is accompanied by new artwork from Testa. His gentle, brightly colored cartoons soften some of the darker scenes in the story...without minimizing Pinocchio’s mischievous nature." —Publishers Weekly
"This childhood classics has had numerous interpretations…Translator Brock gives readers Collodi's Pinocchio: a lazy troublemaker, self-centered and distractible, who remains a wooden puppet right up until the end of his adventures.…Testa's pen, ink and watercolor illustrations appear opposite the text, filling the oversized pages...Parents and libraries should welcome this edition, appealing and accessible for 21st-century children." —Kirkus Reviews
"Disney’s sentimental depiction of Pinocchio bears little resemblance to Collodi’s unscrupulous puppet. This new translation revives the sardonic wit and black humour of the original." — London Times
"Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio…is short on Disneyesque sentimentality (there is a talking cricket, but Pinocchio squashes him), long on satire and farce. Geoffrey Brock’s superbly crafted translation and Umberto Eco’s introduction bring to life this tale of gumption and greed." — O, The Oprah Magazine
"The superiority of the Collodi original to the Disney adaptation lies in its reluctance to make the inner motivations of the story explicit….No less than Proust’s novel in search of lost time, [Collodi’s] story is a search for his lost childhood." — Paul Auster
"Any [reading] list, I think, must begin with Pinocchio." — Italo Calvino