[UCP Books]: Catarina the Wise: and Other Wondrous Sicilian Folk & Fairy Tales, collected by Giuseppe Pitrè, edited and translated by Jack Zipes

“Reexperience familiar stories in all their original Hemingwayesque terseness.”
—Michael Dirda,
Washington Post
on Zipes’s The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm

“What’s a kid to do? . . . The stories for children teach lessons: if you’re kind, resourceful, and brave, you’ll find happiness; sit pretty and wait for the prince, and you’ll be sorry.”
—Caryn James, New York Times
on Zipes’s Don’t Bet on the Prince

“Zipes’s prodigious energy seems as inexhaustible as the fairy-tale purse that never empties.”
—Marina Warner, New York Review of Books
on Zipes’s The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm





and Other Wondrous Sicilian Folk & Fairy Tales
Collected by Giuseppe Pitrè | Edited & Translated by Jack Zipes


Domestic and International Publication Date: 10 July 2017
304 pages | 6 x 9 | 10 halftones | ISBN-13: 978-0-226-46279-0 | Paper $20.00/₤15.00



Once upon a time in Palermo, a boy was born to a poor family of sailors just three days before Christmas. But while this boy would take to the seas in Garibaldi’s navy and go on to be a traveling healer, his legacy would be something far different than his origins might imply: Giuseppe Pitrè would become one of the most magnificent folklore collectors of our age, matching (perhaps even outpacing) the Brothers Grimm. And yet, while the Grimms’ stories rest on the nightstands of children the world over, Pitrè has been largely forgotten. Enter brilliant folklore scholar and translator Jack Zipes and the stories collected in Catarina the Wise. Though Pitrè’s yarns may seem familiar, filled with castles and sorcerers, ogres and ogresses, morals and archetypes aplenty, these are no ordinary fairy tales. Delightfully dramatic and, often, wonderfully weird—as in the tale of Russida, who teaches her horribly controlling new husband a lesson in guilt by placing a honey-filled (and cheeky) puppet in their nuptial bed for him to stab (worry not, they reconcile: “And what became of the puppet so sweet? The couple ate it as their wedding treat.”)—the uproarious and eye-opening Sicilian folk and fairy tales gathered here are some of Pitrè’s best. As for the fate of our title heroine Catarina and her prince?: “And so they lived on, in contentment and peace, While we just sit here, grinding our teeth.”


Jack Zipes is professor emeritus of German and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota. Among his many edited or translated collections and original books are The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, and Grimm Legacies: The Magic Power of the Grimms’ Folk and Fairy Tales.

Please contact Nicholas Lilly at 773.702.7490 or nlilly@uchicago.edu for more information.


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