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In Giovan Francesco Straparolas The Pleasant Nights, a group of men and women gather together in a villa on the Venetian island of Murano during Carnival to sing songs, tell tales, and solve riddles. A sixteenth-century bestseller, The Pleasant Nights is today a fundamental text for European folk and fairy tale studies, for alongside triumphal and tragic love stories, comical tales of practical jokes, and accounts of witty retorts, Straparola (1480? 1557?) placed some of the first fairy tales printed in Europe. Straparolas eloquent female narrators and the fairy tales they recount became a model for a generation of French women writers in Parisian salons, who used the fairy tale to interrogate the gender norms of their day. This book presents the first new and complete English translation of Straparolas tales and riddles to be published since the nineteenth century.
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