The Intrepid Giuseppe Pitrè and his Collection of Sicilian Folk Tales

Jack Zipes, University of Minnesota, and Joseph Russo, Haverford College

The true treasures of European folklore are buried not in Germany, but in Sicily, and the greatest European folklorist of the nineteenth century was Giuseppe Pitrè (1841-1916). Pitrè was born into a family of fishermen in Palermo and became a medical doctor, councilman, and professor. He wrote over forty books and collected hundreds of fairy tales, legends, anecdotes, riddles, and myths and published them in Sicilian dialect. Indeed, his collection is the most important nineteenth-century collection of tales in dialect. Jack Zipes and Joseph Russo translated the tales and edited a two volume collection The Collected Sicilian Folk and Fairy Tales of Giuseppe Pitrè (Routledge, 2008). They will discuss the significance of Pitrè’s life and works, and read from the collection.