Born in c. 1575 to a middle-class family in Giugliano, Italy, Giambattista Basile was a soldier, poet, and fairytale collector, whose Lo cunto de li cunti overo lo trattenemiento de peccerille (‘The Tale of Tales, or Entertainment for Little Ones’)—a collection of 50 tales written in Neapolitan—was one of the earliest such collections based on folktales. It was published posthumously by his sister, Adriana, in Naples in 1634 and 1636 under the anagrammatic pseudonym Gian Alesio Abbattutis, and later became known as The Pentamerone.


It served as an important source both for the later fairytale writers, such as the Frenchman Charles Perrault in the 17th century and the German brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in the 19th century, and for the Italian commedia dell’arte dramatist Carlo Gozzi in the 18th century, as it includes many of the oldest know variants in existence as well as the earliest known European versions of ‘Rapunzel’ and ‘Cinderella.’

Available Titles by Giambattista Basile: