CARLO COLLODI (1826-1890)
- The Adventures of Pinocchio
Carlo Collodi was born Carlo Lorenzini in Florence as the son of
Domingo Lorenzini, a cook, and Angela Orzali, a servant. He joined a seminary
as a young man. However, Collodi found politics more interesting, when the
movement for Italian national unification spread. At the age of 22, he became a
journalist to work for Italian independence struggle. In 1848 he founded the
satirical journal Il Lampione, which was suppressed in 1849. His next periodical,
La Scaramuccia, was more fortunate, and in 1860 he revived Il Lampione again.
Collodi also wrote comedies and edited newspapers and reviews. He took the
pseudonym 'Collodi' from the name of the town, where his mother was born and
where he spent time as a boy.
In 1861, when Italy became a united nation, Collodi gave up
journalism. After 1870 he settled down as a theatrical censor and magazine
editor. He turned soon to children's fantasy, translating Italian versions of
the fairy tales of the French writer Charles Perrault's. It was Perrault who
reintroduced such half-forgotten tales as 'Little Red Riding Hood', 'Sleeping
Beauty', and 'Puss in Boots'. Collodi also began to write his own children's
stories, including a series about a character named Giannettino. The first
chapter of Pinocchio appeared in the Giornale dei bambini in 1881, and became
an immediate success, but first the church fathers were afraid that Pinocchio
would encourage rebellion. The story depicted a wooden puppet carved by a
friendly old man called Geppetto. Pinocchio comes to life but has to learn how
to be generous through hard lessons. His feet are burned off, he is chained,
and he is even hanged. Original illustration was made by Eugenio Mazzanti
(1883). The story was first translated into English in 1892 by M.A. Murray.
- Collodi died in Florence on October 26, 1890.