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Preserving the SpellBasile's "The Tale of Tales" and Its Afterlife in the Fairy-Tale Tradition$
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Armando Maggi

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226242965

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226243016.001.0001

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A Never Ending and Never Told Tale

A Never Ending and Never Told Tale

Basile’s Undoing of “Cupid and Psyche”

(p.25) Chapter One A Never Ending and Never Told Tale
Preserving the Spell

Armando Maggi

University of Chicago Press

This chapter introduces Basile’s seminal The Tale of Tales, the first collection of literary fairy tales of the Western tradition. In particular, this chapter studies how the seventeenth-century Italian author reinterprets the concepts of ‘oral’ and ‘written.’ Basile’s baroque tales read like transcriptions of oral storytelling although they are literary inventions. The main goal of this chapter is the analysis of Basile’s two retellings of the myth of Cupid and Psyche. The myth of Cupid and Psyche is the first myth-fairy tale of the Western tradition and Basile’s book is the first collection of tales of modern Europe. After a brief survey of the medieval and Renaissance philosophical and theological interpretations of this myth, this chapter shows how Basile composes two opposite retellings of the Latin tale.

Keywords:   Cupid and Psyche, Basile, oral and written, Baroque, soul

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