A treasury of Japanese folklore and wisdom, beautifully bound by Folio and fully illustrated by artist Yuko Shimizu.
Illustrated by Gérard DuBois
Introduced by Italo Calvino
Preface by Guillermo del Toro
Translated by George Martin
Fantastical monsters, daredevil youths and evil witches bound across every page of this beautiful new Folio edition of Calvino’s comprehensive collection.
’An exquisite presentation. Layout, design, typeface, illustrations - an heirloom for any library, a prized set... Proud to be a part of it!’
- Guillermo del Toro
Storytelling is intrinsically linked to cultural identity, and for Italy this means Italo Calvino. To rectify the country’s lack of a written history of its folkloric traditions, the writer was commissioned to search the length and breadth of the land, to collate and retell the treasured tales that have shaped Italy’ folk heritage. Calvino’ collection is held in such high regard that, despite its relatively recent compilation, it is fondly – and justifiably – compared to those of his Northern European counterparts, such as the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen.
Calvino’s 200 tales are presented across two spectacular volumes featuring gold-blocked bindings and printed map endpapers that show each story’s provenance. With illustrations drawing on Goya’s Los Caprichos prints and an imitation snakeskin slipcase inspired by the shape-changing serpents in many of Calvino’s tales, this is a truly exceptional collector’s edition.
Bound in blocked cloth
Set in Jenson
Vol 1: 552 pages; Vol 2: 560 pages
Frontispiece and 7 colour illustrations (including 1 double-page spread) in each volume
16 black & white tailpieces in total
Textured vinyl-coated paper slipcase
10˝ x 6¾˝
As Guillermo del Toro (director of Pan’s Labyrinth and other highly acclaimed films) writes of the tales in a preface inspired by years of immersion: ‘They lend both solace and understanding of the mysteries within us all.’ His own work is heavily influenced by the mythic and fantastical and, like his films, these Italian tales are full of omens and teachings – warnings, perhaps, transmitted by the original storytellers. Whether they were intended to ward off evil, scare children into obedience or show the price to be paid for the sins of gluttony, avarice and pride, these folktales kept people both rapt and fearful.
However, the tales also speak of bravery, strength and cunning, and there is a great deal of humour and farce, with comedic characters and situations that transcend centuries: lazy women who snare rich partners; couples who wed hastily and then uncover each other’s secrets; and the sheer abundance of farcical situations and seemingly impossible quests that underline life’s absurdities.
As with folktales the world over, Calvino’s collection abounds with natural and cosmic references, as well as kings, princesses, poor suitors, evil stepmothers and talking animals. These tales are not new; we recognise them instantly. But the beauty of Calvino’s collection is the turn of phrase, the geographical specificities – such as the hunt for a girl with skin as creamy white as ricotta – and cultural nuances that make them distinctly and uniquely Italian.
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