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Pinocchio [Paperback]

Carlo Collodi , Rebecca West , Umberto Eco , Geoffrey Brock
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 18 2008 New York Review Books
Though one of the best-known books in the world, Pinocchio at the same time remains unknown—linked in many minds to the Walt Disney movie that bears little relation to Carlo Collodi’s splendid original. That story is of course about a puppet who, after many trials, succeeds in becoming a “real boy.” Yet it is hardly a sentimental or morally improving tale. To the contrary, Pinocchio is one of the great subversives of the written page, a madcap genius hurtled along at the pleasure and mercy of his desires, a renegade who in many ways resembles his near contemporary Huck Finn.

Pinocchio the novel, no less than Pinocchio the character, is one of the great inventions of modern literature. A sublime anomaly, the book merges the traditions of the picaresque, of street theater, and of folk and fairy tales into a work that is at once adventure, satire, and a powerful enchantment that anticipates surrealism and magical realism. Thronged with memorable characters and composed with the fluid but inevitable logic of a dream, Pinocchio is an endlessly fascinating work that is essential equipment for life.

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Review

"Disney's sentimental depiction of Pinocchio bears little resemblance to Collodi's unscrupulous puppet. This new translation revives the sardonic wit and black humour of the original." --London Times

"Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio...is short on Disneyesque sentimentality (there is a talking cricket, but Pinocchio squashes him), long on satire and farce. Geoffrey Brock's superbly crafted translation and Umberto Eco's introduction bring to life this tale of gumption and greed." --O Magazine

"Geoffrey Brock's new English translation of the subversive parable revives Carlo Collodi's sardonic wit and pitch-black humor, while bringing to life the poverty, moral vacuity, and uncensored violence of late-19th-century Europe...Brock — known for his award-winning translations of authors such as Umberto Eco and Cesare Pavese — strips away the sentimental veneer to reveal the original haunting fairy tale. Readers will be familiar with many of the characters, as well as the story's major plot points, but this version thankfully bears little resemblance to most modern interpretations. Pinocchio may have cast off his own strings, but Brock beautifully restores the historical knot." --BoldType

About the Author

Carlo Collodi (1826–1890) was the pen name of Carlo Lorenzini. He was born in Florence, where his father served as the cook for a rich aristocratic family; his mother, though qualified as a schoolteacher, worked as a chambermaid for the same family. Lorenzini took the name Collodi from his mother’s hometown, where he was sent to attend school. A volunteer in the Tuscan army during the 1848 and 1860 Italian wars of independence, Collodi founded a satirical weekly, Il Lampione—which was suppressed for a time by the Grand Duke of Tuscany—and became known as the author of novels, plays, and political sketches. His translation from the French of Charles Perrault’s fairy tales came out in 1876, and in 1881 his Storia di un burratino (Story of a Puppet) was published in installments in the Giornale per i bambini, appearing two years later in book form as The Adventures of Pinocchio. Collodi, whose writings include several readers for schoolchildren, died in 1890, unaware of the vast international success that his creation Pinocchio would eventually enjoy.

Geoffrey Brock is the prizewinning translator of works by Cesare Pavese, Umberto Eco, Roberto Calasso, and others. He teaches creative writing and translation at the University of Arkansas. His Web site is www.geoffreybrock.com.

Umberto Eco is a professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna and the author of numerous novels and collections of essays, including The Name of the Rose, Foucault’s Pendulum, and most recently, Turning Back the Clock: Hot Wars and Media Populism.

Rebecca West is a professor of Italian and of cinema and media Studies at the University of Chicago. She is the author of Eugenio Montale: Poet on the Edge and Gianni Celati: The Craft of Everyday Storytelling, and is co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to Modern Italian Culture

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Most helpful customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Badly placed in the sales line up July 20 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Unfortunately, this book did not meet my needs. When I was on a trip to Italy, I had purchased little Pinocchio toys for my six grandchildren ages 2 to 5 Upon returning home, I went to Amazon to buy the accompanying story book. The Collodi book got great reviews so I purchased one of the Disney variety and one of the original Collodi books. However the original Collodi version of Pinocchio is for much older children. It would make a good read aloud for an older primary age child or as a 'read it myself' for a competent reader of about eight to ten.
The mistake here was in placing it directly under the Disney book in the shopping line up. That misled me.
However I must say that I am extremely impressed with the ease and efficiency of Amazon's return policy.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This translater does an excellent job at retelling Lorenzini's Gothic tale of the mischevious marionette and how he grows into the ideal Italian man. This is better than Disney, and, If you grew up without much in the south of Italy, you may still identify yourself with him.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent version Oct. 2 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Love, love, love this version! Updated language, good-sized print, and made so readable my young grandson and I laughed out loud throughout. This is the one to buy.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fine New American Translation of Collodi Classic Sept. 13 2009
By Nicholas A. Deutsch - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I'll leave it to others to assess the accuracy of Geoffrey Brock's new English translation of THE ADVENTURES OF PINOCCHIO. What I can say is that it reads really well for a North American reader, pungent and precise and funny. What an astonishing book! If you've never read it, or if you've only read it in "adapted" versions, here's a good opportunity to enjoy a faithful rendition. Note, however, that apart from a few decorations reproduced from a 1911 edition, this is NOT an illustrated version of the novel.
This edition comes with a brief, charming introduction by Umberto Eco, and a longer afterword by Rebecca West - full of interesting information and insights, but perhaps too ambitious: it reads more like an outline for a book than a self-sufficient essay. An excellent complement (and corrective) to West is Tim Parks's review of this edition in the New York Review of Books (30 April 2009 - there's a link from the Wikipedia entry on Carlo Collodi). Parks lays out the political, social, religious and personal background to Collodi's book clearly and entertainingly, and his article really increased my understanding and enjoyment.
Finally, consider checking out the recently issued DVD of English composer Jonathan Dove's full-length opera, THE ADVENTURES OF PINOCCHIO, a fantastically colorful and remarkably faithful adaptation of this classic novel.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pinocchio May 14 2013
By Marc Fruchtman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
a great classic. We read this book in our book club. Everyone was glad to have read it as an adult.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alright book Sept. 23 2013
By Austin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had to read this book for school and it was alright. Not the best rendition, but it was worth reading.
10 of 47 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Disney May 10 2009
By Frank A. Stephenson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is not the Pinocchio of Walt Disney (the talking cricket gets whacked on page 15 with a hammer), rather this is the Pinocchio Disney used to create his version. Knowing that will make you appreciate Walt even more.

I'm not saying this is a bad read; on the contrary, I enjoyed this book, even though I caught myself comparing the storyline with the Disney movie way too often. There are many characters, and somehow Carlo Collodi has managed to make all of them not only essential, but interesting. The book is a magical tale about life; it's about adventure, comedy, dissapointment, shear joy, and imagination.
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