Giambattista Basile was a seventeenth-century Italian poet whom the Grimms credit with recording the first national collection of fairy tales. The Tale of Tales opens with Princess Zoza, unable to laugh no matter how funny the joke. Her father, the king, attempts to make her smile; instead he leaves her cursed whereupon the prince she is destined to marry is snatched up by another woman. To expose this impostor and win back her rightful husband, Zosa contrives a storytelling extravaganza: fifty fairy tales to be told by ten sharp-tongued women (including Zoza in disguise) over five days.
Funny and scary, romantic and gruesome, and featuring kings and queens, dragons and seduction, The Tale of Tales is a fairy-tale treasure that prefigures Game of Thrones and other touchstones of worldwide fantasy literature
Giambattista Basile (1575-1632) was born to a middle-class family just outside of Naples, Italy. A poet, academic, and court administrator, he is most remembered for collecting the first set of European fairy tales, published by his sister two years after his death.