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Collodi, Carlo

Entry updated 19 December 2022. Tagged: Author.

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Pseudonym of Italian journalist and author Carlo Lorenzini (1826-1890), active from the early 1850s, much of his work being political Satire from an anti-monarchist point of view; famous for his children's fantasy Le Avventure di Pinocchio: storia di un burattino (first fifteen chapters 7 July-27 October 1881 Giornale per i bambini as "La storia di un burratino"; chapters fifteen to thirty-six February 1882-January 1883 Giornale per i bambini as "Le avventure di Pinocchio"; rev 1883; trans Mary Alice Murray as The Story of a Puppet: Or, Adventures of Pinocchio dated 1892 but 1891; Murray's trans (unacknowledged) vt Pinocchio's Adventures in Wonderland 1898; first uncut unexpurgated trans Geoffrey Brock vt Pinocchio 2008; fully annotated version trans John Hooper and Anna Kraczyna as The Adventures of Pinocchio 2022). After the Bible and the Koran, Pinocchio is the world's most frequently translated book.

The first fifteen chapters (see above) end with the puppet hanging dead from a tree, ironically given his chthonic roots as a magical "talking tree"; the added chapters, sixteen to thirty-six, are full of adventure, frequently based on Commedia dell'Arte turns, and mostly set in the hardscrabble hinterland of rural Tuscany; they do not markedly soften Collodi's rendering of his scheming, murderous puppet. Though the story is not of course sf, its basic narrative – a puppet, which becomes a conscious "blockhead Trickster", must endure a picaresque Fantastic Voyage in its intermittent quest to become a Real Boy – has become paradigmatic for any tale in which AIs aspire to and/or gain consciousness [for Commedia dell'Arte, Pinocchio, Real Boy and Trickster above, and for Walt Disney and the film Pinocchio below, see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]. The Satirical implications of the jagged and rampageous original text could be read specifically to comment on poverty and politics in Italy in the later nineteenth century; translated versions lose this context.

Versions and transfigurations of the original tale are easily discovered, including many films like the full-length cartoon Pinocchio (1940) produced (and effectively directed) by Walt Disney (see The Walt Disney Company), Astro Boy (1963-1966), Pinocchio in Outer Space (1965), a cartoon directed by Ray Goossens, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001) directed by Steven Spielberg, Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) directed by Joss Whedon, Pinocchio (2019) directed by Matteo Garrone, or Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio (2022), a cartoon directed by Guillermo Del Toro and Mark Gustafson, a strongly anti-clerical rendering set in Fascist Italy, with savage caricatures and blasphemy; and such tales and novels as Alexei Tolstoy's The Golden Key (1936), Jerome Charyn's Pinocchio's Nose (1983) or Robert Coover's Pinocchio in Venice (1991). [JC]

Carlo Lorenzini

born Florence, Grand Duchy of Tuscany: 24 November 1826

died Florence, Italy: 26 October 1890

works (highly selected)

  • Le Avventure di Pinocchio: storia di un burattino (Florence, Italy: Felice Paggi Libraio-Editore, 1883) [first fifteen chapters appeared 7 July 1881-27 October 1881 continued variously until 25 January 1882 Giornale per i bambini as "La storia di un burratino": magazine text revised: illus/Enrico Mazzanti: hb/nonpictorial]
    • The Story of a Puppet: Or, Adventures of Pinocchio (London: T Fisher Unwin, 1891) [dated 1892 but released for the 1891 Christmas trade: trans by Mary Alice Murray of the above: in the publisher's Children's Library series: illus/Enrico Mazzanti: hb/nonpictorial]
      • Pinocchio's Adventures in Wonderland (Boston, Massachusetts: Jordon, Marsh and Company, 1898) [vt of the above translation: author, translator and illustrator all uncredited: illus/illus boards: Enrico Mazzanti]
    • Pinocchio (New York: New York Review Books, 2008) [trans by Geoffrey Brock of the above: first uncut unexpurgated translation: pb/]
    • The Adventures of Pinocchio (London: Penguin Classics, 2021) [trans by John Hooper and Anna Kraczyna of the above: annotated: pb/]

about the author


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