The Buried Treasures of Sicilian Folk and Fairy Tales

Jack Zipes, University of Minnesota

Although most folklorists are aware of the significance of the Brothers Grimm collection of German folk and fairy tales that are revered (wrongly) as models of folk narrative, most scholars are unaware that the true treasures of the nineteenth century lie in Sicily. Not only did a Swiss German woman by the name of Laura Gonzenbach publish a highly significant collection titled Sicilian Folk Tales in 1870, recently translated into English by Jack Zipes (Beautiful Angiola: The Great Treasury of Sicilian Folk and Fairy Tales and Robber With a Witch’s Head: More Stories from the Great Treasury of Sicilian Folk and Fairy Tales, Routledge), but Giuseppe Pitrè, perhaps the most brilliant folklorist, published four volumes of extraordinary folk tales in Sicilian dialect, Fiabe, novelle e racconti popolari siciliani (1875).  Zipes will discuss the importance of these collections for international folklore studies and how difficult it is to capture their “original” meanings in English translation.

This lecture is co-sponsored by Arba Sicula.