Great Books of the World – Part 16

“Knowledge is borrowed,
Imagination is original.”
Banani Ray

“Fairytale” by Ludovico Einaudi (courtesy of Truus1949):

 

“There seems to be no game more beloved of children
in all lands and all times than the one called Pretend.”
“Pinocchio”, Carlo Collodi

“When You Wish Upon a Star”, performed by Linda Ronstadt (courtesy of Valery Romanov):

 

PINOCCHIO
Carlo Collodi
1826-1890

Carlo Collodi’s life could read like the story from his book. He was born Carlo Lorenzini in Florence in 1826. His parents were servants to the Marquis Lorenzo Gironi. Carlo was the first-born. He had nine brothers and sisters, of whom only two survived. The family was so poor and conditions so difficult, that Carlo was sent to live with his grandparents in the town of Collodi. By a great stroke of luck, the Marquis decided to pay for his education, and he was trained at the seminary at Colle Valle d’Elsa.  He rejected the plans to be a priest, and when unexpected opportunities presented themselves, he grasped them. He studied philosophy and rhetoric instead, later becoming a journalist, editor, and dramatist. He often spoke about political freedom, worked on reviving Italian dialects and Tuscan traditions. This was the time of Hans Christian Anderson, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, and Lewis Carroll. The world’s readers re-discovered the beauty and magic of fairy tales and the power of the ancient tradition of storytelling. Pinocchio would become part of those classics that shaped the minds of generations of children.

Courtesy of Undiscovered Tuscany:

 

Collodi, Italy

The birthplace of Pinocchio (courtesy of CBS Sunday Morning):

Despite his growing fame, Carlo didn’t change, except his name to Collodi, and started to write stories about the harsh Tuscan life he had known as a child.

The book came to life in Italy, in 1881, in a weekly magazine called Giornale per I Bambini (Newspaper for Children).  The first instalment was called “Storia di un burattino” (The Story of a Puppet). The author was a prolific writer with many works to his name, and he didn’t think that his story of a piece of wood that becomes a puppet and then a boy, would catch the imagination of the world.

By the time Collodi died in 1890, the book was already on its fourth edition, and the wonder of the magic of this imaginative story swept the world. Films have been made about Pinocchio, toys made, restaurants named, plays, and even a musical, and of course books.

The beginning of Pinocchio suggests that the author didn’t plan the plot but the idea came from somewhere, maybe a note found in an old notebook, or was a gift from imagination, just waiting to be written down. The opening words are saying just that:

“There was once upon a time…

“A king!” my little readers will instantly exclaim.

No, children, you are wrong. There was once upon a time a piece of wood.”

Courtesy of Trevor Phillips:

I thought you would all like to hear an amusing story of what happened at the premiere of Walt Disney’s film Pinocchio in New York City, on February 7, 1940, at the Center Theatre. After the success of Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, the expectations were high. Inspired by the lovable seven dwarfs, the film studio’s publicity department hired 11 little people, put them in Pinocchio costumes, and placed them outside on top of the theatre canopy to dance about and give a carnival atmosphere to the event. The event descended into chaos after food and wine were hoisted up to sustain the Pinocchios.

The dwarfs became inebriated and began to shed their clothes. By 3pm, patrons were startled to see and hear eleven naked men loudly belching and busily engaged in a lively game of craps – a gambling game based on the roll of dice.

The Pinocchios steadfastly refused commands to cover up and climb down, instead hurling obscenities. The police were called, and officers climbed ladders to reach the merry crew and haul them down to the street in pillowcases.

The amusing tale is described here:

 

 

The story of the puppet, Pinocchio, became even part of the language as we say to someone suspected of lying, “Your nose is growing longer!” The rebellious puppet is trying to get away from his creator Geppetto even as he is being carved from the piece of wood. The mouth laughs, the hand grabs, and the foot kicks. Once he is finished, he runs off with Geppetto in hot pursuit.

“Tarantella” by David Popper, performed by Amit Peled and Noreen Polera (courtesy of AmitPeledCellist):

The many adventures of Pinocchio, while incredible, are delightful to read and might be a cautionary warning to children – this is what happens when you are naughty. But he is also innocent and easily tricked, duped, and led astray. Yet, he means well, and he wants to change.

“Would it be possible to find a more ungrateful boy or one with less heart than I have? From this time forth I am determined to change and so become orderly and obedient… For, at last, I have seen that disobedient boys come to no good and gain nothing.”

The language of the book is fast-moving, vibrant, simple, and poetic. Collodi’s descriptions are sketched quickly and accurately. Here is his description of Geppetto’s house: “At the end of the room there was a fire-place with a lighted fire; but the fire was painted, and by the fire was a painted pot that was boiling cheerfully, and sending out a cloud of smoke that looked exactly like real smoke.”

“Pictures in the Fire” by Robert Farnon, performed by Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Adrian Leaper:

 

The story is thundering forward with one happening more amazing than the last one, all unforgettable and mesmerising. Pinocchio’s final metamorphosis into a real boy leaves the reader elated. The story has remained interesting and exuberant for over a hundred years and it will be so forever. Benedetto Croce wrote, “From wood that is humanity itself.” Another historian David Almond observed “Pinocchio is our unpredictability and our creativity, our yearning for freedom and our struggle to conform, our exuberance and our despair. He is the child who wants to be the adult, and the adult who wants to be the child. He runs through every one of us.”

Film poster for Pinocchio

“I’ve Got No Strings” from Pinocchio (1940) (courtesy of Joshua Allen):

 

Here is one extract from Pinocchio:

“The next day Fire-eater called Pinocchio aside and ask him, ‘What is your father’s name?’

‘Geppetto’

‘And what is his trade?’

‘That of a very poor man’.

‘Does he earn very much?’

‘He earns as much as he needs for never having a farthing in his pocket. Just imagine, in order to buy a primer for my schooling, he had to sell his only coat: a coat that was so full of holes and patches that it was shameful.’

‘Poor fellow! I am almost sorry for him. Here are five gold pieces. Hurry up and give them to him, with my compliments.’

As you can well imagine, Pinocchio thanked the Showman a thousand times, and set for home. But before he had gone far he met a fox who was lame in one foot and a cat who was blind in both eyes, getting along as best as they could, like good companions in misfortune. The fox who was lame was leaning on the cat: and the cat who was blind was guided by the fox.

‘Good morning, Pinocchio,’ said the fox, approaching politely.

‘How do you know my name?’ asked the puppet.

‘I know your father well.’

‘Where did you see him?’

‘I saw him yesterday, at the gate of his house.’

‘And what was he doing?’

‘He was in his shirt-sleeves, and trembling with cold.’

‘Poor daddy! But never mind! From now on, he will shiver no more.’

‘Why not?’

‘Because I am now a rich man.’

‘You? A rich man?’ said the fox. And he began to laugh rudely and scornfully. The cat laughed too; but to hide it, she stroked her whiskers with her forepaws.

‘There is nothing to laugh at,’ cried Pinocchio angrily.

‘I am really sorry if what I say whets your appetite, but as you can see, there are five gold pieces.’ And he showed the money that Fire-eater had given him.

At the fascinating ringing of gold, the fox made an involuntary movement with the paw that seemed lame, and the cat opened wide her two blind eyes, but shut them again so quickly that Pinocchio could not notice.

‘And now,” asked the fox, ‘what are you going to do with the money?’

‘First of all,’ answered the marionette, ‘I shall buy a beautiful new coat for my father – a coat made of gold and silver, and with diamond buttons. Then I will buy myself a primer.’

‘For yourself?’

‘Of course, for I mean to go to school and study hard.’

‘Look at me,’ said the fox. ‘It is because of my foolish passion for study, that I lost the use of my leg.’

‘And look at me,’ said the cat. ‘Because of my foolish passion for study, I lost the sight of both my eyes.’

They had gone nearly half-way towards Pinocchio’s home when the fox suddenly stopped and said, ‘Would you like to double your fortune ?’

‘How do you mean?’

‘Would you like to multiply those five miserable gold pieces into a hundred, a thousand, two thousand times?’

‘Who wouldn’t! But how?’

‘That’s very easy. But instead of going home, you must come with us.’

‘And where are you going?’

‘We are going to Dupeland.’

“La Fille Mal Gardée, Act 1: IV. Clog Dance” by Ferdinand Hérold, performed by The London Festival Royal Orchestra:

 

Coming soon (courtesy of Netflix):

 

 

52 thoughts on “Great Books of the World – Part 16

  1. Nice to be reminded, after so very many years of the story I enjoyed as a child. It’s nice to knw that children are still entertained by it and perhaps taught some life lessons. It’s funny, I sometimes say “Jimminy Cricket” when something surprises me. Lovely music Joanna.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s hard to believe that two Pinocchio movies came out in recent months. One would have been pretty surprising. But two? The story has had staying power!

    Like

  3. Wow. This is very interesting and I love Pinocchio. Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful post. ♥️♥️♥️♥️😊😊😊. Happy Weekend🍕🏠🎉.

    Like

  4. Thank you, Neil for your kind comment. It certainly does!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you, Aparna, for your wonderful comment! Greatly appreciated!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you, Carolyn, for your wonderful comment! One of the readers just told me that there are two films coming out based on this book!

    Joanna

    Like

  7. I wasn’t expecting this one to turn up Joanna, but I’m glad that it has. I don’t suppose there are many people who haven’t heard of Pinocchio, and if they say they haven’t, then they must be lying 😊 As you always do, you’ve given us a background to the author as well as the book, most of which I didn’t know. There’s also the music and videos to accompany the whole thing, and I particularly liked the story about the naked, inebriated dwarves – assuming it’s true of course. Thank you for giving us another super post again 😊

    Like

  8. Thank you, Malc, for your wonderful comments! I was just told by my reader in the US that they are two films coming out based on the book. I am happy that all the readers who made comments liked the music and the video that is true event filmed at the time.

    Thank you, Malc, again, your words are greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Of course I’ve known Pinocchio from the youngest age but I’d knew nothing about Carlo Collodi, until today. Thank you, Joanna 🌹💓💝🙋‍♂️

    Like

  10. Oops. “….but I knew ….!” I’m not having a good day! 😉

    Like

  11. Thank you, Ashley, for your kind comments! I know that you are very well read, I hope you are well!

    Bad day? It will pass according to King Solomon.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Always a terrific story no matter how many generations have listened to it. Thank you once again Joanna for your marvellous account of it.

    Like

  13. Thank you, Peter, for your kind comments! Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  14. A wonderful compilation of information, Joanna, and I remember Pinocchio so well from my childhood and from my own children’s’. And what a premier that was! Thank you for sharing!

    Like

  15. Thank you, Lauren, for your kind comments! Yes, it must been entertaining!

    Your words are greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  16. You’re very welcome, Joanna.

    Like

  17. Thank you, Joanna, for reminding and bringing out the interesting story of Pinochhio, the fictional character made of wood. Nobody can forget his nose that grows longer whenever he tells a lie. I like the moving language used to tell this story. I remember during my childhood days, most of the stories used to open with the words.. “Once upon a time…”

    A fascinating story indeed and equally fascinating is your post about him and his writer, Carlo Collodi. The story of premiere of Walt Disney’s film is quite amusing and so is the related video. There are so many films, toys, books, plays etc based on or inspired by this character.

    You have rightly mentioned, Joanna, about the source of idea, possibly a gift of imagination. What I feel is that idea comes from anywhere and anything that we interact with on daily basis. Even imagination is shaped by our own upbringing, environment and society. So in my view (I may be wrong here), no idea is original, its presentation may be original or unique.

    Thanks once again for one more interesting post this Saturday!

    Like

  18. Thank you very much for this wonderful article on one of the masterpieces of Italian literature for children (and not only them)🌺🌷🌺

    Like

  19. What a wonderful post Joanna. Love Pinocchio and the beautiful opening with such gorgeous imagery and music in Fairytale. What a wonderful post to wake up to my friend. So much to savor here and come back to through the week. ❤️

    Like

  20. Thank you, Kaushal, for your wonderful and mind engaging comments!

    I agree with your profound observation that the presentation might be original but the idea is not.

    I am glad that you had the time and resolve to read the post. Thank you!

    Your analytical views about my post, made my day, and are greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Thank you, Cindy, for your lovely comments! I am so glad that you liked the “extras”. Greatly appreciated!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Thank you, Luisa, for your lovely comments! I think such a classic can be enjoyed at any age, and often is.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  23. You’re so welcome and be clear I’ll be back to enjoy more later.. xo ❣️

    Like

  24. Thank you, Cindy, you are very kind!

    Joanna

    Like

  25. “Pinocchio is our unpredictability and our creativity, our yearning for freedom and our struggle to conform, our exuberance and our despair. ”

    What a gorgeous way to look back on Pinocchio! I loved how comprehensive your post was (as always!) – I grew up with this story and I’ve yet to find one that fascinates and comforts as this one did. Lovely writing, Joanna! Hope you have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Thank you, D, for your wonderful comment! It is greatly appreciated!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I couldn’t agree more
    Thanks a lot for your kind reply

    Like

  28. You are more than welcome!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Thanks to Walt Disney, I was familiar with Pinocchio but knew nothing about the book. Wonderful way to learn, Joanna.

    Like

  30. Thank you, Pat, for your kind comment! Greatly appreciated!

    Joanna

    Like

  31. It’s my pleasure, Joanna! You’re welcome always!!

    Like

  32. What an amazing post, Joanna. It took me a long time to get through because I didn’t want to miss any part of it. I read recently that Pinnochio is the most well know children’s story around the world. Sharing everywhere. 🙂

    Like

  33. Thank you, Diana, for your wonderful comments! There are many interesting books in this series. I publish every Friday and hope to see you again.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  34. You will. That was just fascinating and a beautiful collage of quotes, video, readings, song, and history. I’m so glad I found your comment on Lauren’s site. You have a delightful blog.

    Like

  35. Thank you! You are very kind!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Imagination is always one’s own and authentic. Love this saying. Nice read and I enjoyed reading every bit. 🌹🍀

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Thank you for your kind comment. Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Like

  38. Thank you for your article Jonna! Very interesting and well written. 👌🏻❤️ I’ve always been fascinated by Pinocchio. I guess the fact that I love Italy helps. What a great choice for music and videos.

    Like

  39. Thank you, Filipa, for your generous comments! Yes, Italy is a beautiful country.

    Your words are greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Like

  40. This is such a great story. One beloved by me in my childhood. The lessons learned carry children into adulthood. Well done, Joanna.

    Like

  41. Thank you, Dwight, for your generous comments! Yes, it is a morality tale that will last forever.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  42. You are welcome!

    Like

  43. Great post Joanna. Thank you for sharing one of the most renowned children books of all time. I enjoyed reading the stories of Pinocchio and my children too.

    Like

  44. Thank you, Henrietta, for your kind comment! Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Namaste and good morning, Joanna from India. I wish you a better health.
    1) It’s 08:53 am. And I’m enjoying reading your blog post in the golden light of the sun while sitting on a chair.
    2) The weather (tem. 25°C-30°C) of the Varanasi city is favourable. I’m slowly getting more philosophical and emotional at the deeper level.
    3) Pinocchio or Carlo Collodi (1826-1890 AD) was basically a prolific writer, and a journalist, an editor and a dramatist. His childhood days in the poverty contributed to make him being rich of creative juices, imagination and communication skills. It was rather a long process, he went through all the hardships and the challenges.
    4) He often spoke about political freedom, worked on reviving Italian dialects and the Tuskan traditions.”
    5) “Storia di un Burattinno” of the year 1881 AD in Italy catches my interests. The lead wooden character is actually a boy, he feels feelings, talks talkings and cares caring. He has human signs, or ‘he is human’.
    6) This story became popular in the towns, for example, through the toys in the shops, and every corner & heart. Disney’s film work production also deserves my great appreciation.
    7) I want to highlight a few things; i) “No, children, you are wrong. Once upon a time there was a peace of wood.”, ii) “Poor daddy! But no mind! From now own, he will shiver no more.”
    8) Your insputs of visuals and audio, improves reader’s “receiving experience”.
    9) So overall I enjoyed the post. It gives me a signal to look back at my imagination intuition, processes and reasons. You are a good narrator.
    10) Have a great day! Stay strong, release the unnecessary burden.

    Like

  46. Two corrections: 1. Namaste and good morning from India, Joanna. 2. insputs : inputs

    Like

  47. Thank you, Lokesh for your wonderful comments! I like your analytical view of the text, and you are good narrator

    too. Thank you and I greatly appreciate your words.

    Joanna

    Like

  48. ~just a thought 03/11/2022 — 8:20 pm

    Wow. This is very interesting, and amazing images included!

    I found the following quote you referenced both intriguing and nostalgic. Although I’ve certainly read it before, I am newly touched by its heft:

    “There seems to be no game more beloved of children
    in all lands and all times than the one called Pretend.”
    “Pinocchio”, Carlo Collodi

    Like

  49. Thank you, Angela, for your lovely comments! I like your writing too, and will look up more of your posts.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

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