The Adventures of Pinocchio

Carlo Collodi [pseud.]. Pinocchio: the Story of a Marionette. Philadelphia: John C. Winston Co., [c. 1923].

Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio first appeared in serial form in an Italian children’s magazine, Giornale per i bambini (Magazine for Children), between 1881 and 1883 under the title The Story of a Puppet. This initial version of the story of the mischievous puppet ended with Pinocchio hung from a tree crying out for his father. Collodi’s young readers rejected this tragic ending and clamored for more adventures.  In 1883 Collodi published The Adventures of Pinocchio:  Story of a Puppet, which included more escapades and ended with Pinocchio’s transformation into a boy.
Carlo Collodi was born Carlo Lorenzini in Florence in 1826.  He worked as a journalist, wrote books for adults and children which he often published under his pseudonym Collodi, a name taken from his mother’s birthplace.  Although best known as the “father” of Pinocchio, Collodi made many contributions to Italian children’s literature.  He wrote textbooks for the schools of the newly formed Italian state and he translated French fairy tales by Charles Perrault into Italian.  He died in Florence in 1890.
For those who know only Disney’s version of the story, Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio presents a number of surprises. For example, we first see Gepetto fist-fighting with his neighbor Master Cherry; Pinocchio kills the Talking Cricket who attempts to give the unruly puppet some sound advice by smashing him with a hammer; and the monster that swallows Pinocchio and Gepetto is an ailing shark, not a whale.
The success of Pinocchio is unparalleled in the history of children’s literature.  Collodi has been translated into over 100 languages and made into over 20 films.  Some authors created new adventures for Pinocchio….

Eugenio Cherubini. Pinocchio in Africa. Boston: Ginn and Co., [c. 1911].

Many authors have given Pinocchio new adventures and taken him all over the world. This pro-colonial, openly racist book in which Pinocchio is named “Emperor and King of all the African kings,” is one of the first.

Text by Professor Suzanne Manganini


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