This full critical edition of The Pleasant Nights presents these stories in English for the first time in over a century. The text takes its inspiration from the celebrated Waters translation, which is entirely revised here to render it both more faithful to the original and more sparkishly idiomatic than ever before. The stories are accompanied by a rich sampling of illustrations, including originals from nineteenth-century English and French versions of the text.
As a comprehensive critical and historical edition, these volumes contain far more information on the stories than can be found in any existing studies, literary histories, or Italian editions of the work. Donald Beecher provides a lengthy introduction discussing Straparola as an author, the nature of fairy tales and their passage through oral culture, and how this phenomenon provides a new reservoir of stories for literary adaptation. Moreover, the stories all feature extensive commentaries analysing not only their themes but also their fascinating provenances, drawing on thousands of analogue tales going back to ancient Sanskrit, Persian, and Arabic stories.
Immensely entertaining and readable, The Pleasant Nights will appeal to anyone interested in fairy tales, ancient stories, and folk creations. Such readers will also enjoy Beecher’s academically solid and erudite commentaries, which unfold in a manner as light and amusing as the stories themselves.