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Publishing of Folktales

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Publishing of Early Folktales

In early years these folktales were available to very few people because they used to preserve only by tellinh and hearing. They could not be preserved for many years. The following short description gives a glimpse of publishing history of folktales for common man. It is not certainly complete but it shows that publishing of folktales was somewhat aggressively started from the 19th century only. By the way the first printing started from Gutenberg Bible (40 pages) in 1450 - mid-15th century.

16th Century
Publication of folktales starts after 100 years of the invention of printing press, from the folktales of Italy. The first collection,  "The Facetious Nights of Straparola" / The Pleasant Nights (in Italian: Piacevoli Notti)  was published by Giovanni Francesco Straparola in Italy in 1550. Strarparola was one of the most famous novelist of Italy of his times. It passed through 16 editions during the next 20 years after its first publication. It was translated into French and German also. 13 nights were spent listening these 74 stories. They cover 24 stories of little-known origin, 15 from French, 6 stories of Oriental origin, remaining 29 stories never appeared before in the literature of Europe.

17th Century
After this there was a silence for over 100 years. Next publications were a few publications of folktales, such as  “Il Pentamerone”, a collection of 50 Italian  stories written by Giambattista Basile published in 1634 and 1636 narrated by 10 old women in five nights. It was written on the same fashion as the Giovanni Francesco Straparola's collection mentioned above - "The Facetious Nights of Strarparola". It is available on the Web Site World of Folktales with its 32 tales.

18th Century
Gap reduced and after 70 years another publication was published. Arabian Nights was first published in 1706. After the publication of Arabian Nights there is another large gap in publishing folktales – of 100 years. No more notable publication in this century.

19th Century
After leaving 18th century blank, a regular kind of publication of folktales was started in 19th century. Only a couple of books are found in the beginning of this century. Two German brothers Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grim restarted this tradition. The first collection of their 86 fairy tales was published in 1812. Although it was criticized for their inappropriateness for the children. Another edition was published in 1817 with 70 tales. After this several editions were published after subtracting and adding several tales until the last edition, the 7th edition with 211 tales in 1857. These two brothers are well-known by the name of Grimms or Grimm Brothers.

Two collections of Norwegian tales were published in 1843 and 1852 - "Norwegian Folktales" (1841-1842, 1843) by Peter Christen Asbjornsen and Jorgen Moe. Many of the stories' titles are given here.

The first collection of Russian folktales in English language was published by William Ralston Sheddan Ralston "Russian Folktales" (London, Smith Elder) with 51 tales in 1873. The greatest collection of Russian Folktales, about 600 in number,  was printed by Alexander  Nikolayevich Afanasyev during 1855-1863. From among his many stories 73 stories were translated in English as one book titled "Russian Folk-Tales" by Leonard Arthur Magnus and was published in 1916.

I was very happy to see that a few Collections of Russian folktales were published in Hindi also.
1.  "Roosi Lok Kathayen" by Madan Lal "Madhu" and Om Prakash Sangal with 33 folktales in 1960. 
2.  "Roopvati Vasilisa (Old Russian Folktales in Hindi)"  with 16 folktales - no date.
3.  "Roos Ki Lok Kathayen" by Rajendra Mohun Sastry and Mridula Sharma with 16 folktales in 2006.
4.  "Heere Moti - Soviet Bhoomi Ki Jatiyon Ki Lok Kathayen" by Soviet Stories. 2010. 36 folktales.

A collection of 51 Folktales of Serbia "Serbian Folklore" was published in 1874.

In the mean time a very important and well-known folktales collector Andrew Lang started publishing his own works. He is regarded the best and the greatest collector of folktales of the world . He started his publishing from 1878 and continued till 1913. His first book was "Folklore of France" published in 1878. Along with collecting the folktales of various countries, he has published many fairy tales and has translated Arabian Nights also.

A translation of India's "Katha Saritsagar" in English by CH Tawney was also published during this period in two volumes in 1880 and 1884. After this the same was published again by NM Penzer with an extensive commentary etc in 10 volumes during 1924 and 1928. It has been translation in several languages - one in Hindi by Kedar Nath Sharma Saraswat in several volumes, bilingual (Sanskrit and Hindi), another one was published by Motilal Banarsidas only in Sanskrit in 1970. One more small collection of these stories was published as "Katha Sarita", 4th edition, by Dvijendra Nath Mishra was published in 1979.

Later the collection of Portuguuese folktales "Portugese Folk-Tales"  was published in 1880. It was published by Consiglieri Pedroso.

Brother Grimms' "Household Folktales" was translated in English by Margaret Hunt in 1884.

One more collection of Italian folktales "Italian Popular Tales" was published by Thomas Frederick Crane in 1885. Its

20th Century
20th century was full of publications on folktales. It started with "Zanzibar Tales" of Tanzania country (Africa) was published by George W Bateman in 1901. It contains 10 tales.

One more collection of Italian folktales was published by Italo Calvino, with the title "Italian Folktales: collected and retold by Italo Calvino" with 200 tales in 1956. Here you may find the titles of his all the 200 tales and links for some of its tales. Its one English translation was published by George Martin in 1980.


A Short Survey

After a short survey it was found that only a countable books of folktales were available in Hindi therefore if we have to enrich our society with the global information we must translate as many of them as possible in Hindi. and provide them from some platform. Most folktales are available in their own languages to which they belong. Later some bilingual people started making the attempt to translate those foreign language tales in English German France Italian for the benefit of their own society. Now a days as English is considered a kind of universal language that is why if a translation of a non-English material is available in English language it is considered quite a usable literature.

You will be surprised to know that one book was written in Italian in 1550. Italian language has several dialects, so people speaking other dialects translated that book of 75 tales in four other Italian dialects. This is called to send the literature to grassroots people, that those 100 tales are available now in Italian's five dialects. That is the kind of movement we need.

Still many people do not know English in India, thus they are not able to use them. To reach them we need to retranslate them into the local language and make them available to those people. We are in dire need of their translation. Foreign language does not mean only that language which comes from other countries, it includes those languages too which are not understood by other people, for example even in India more than 20 languages are spoken. It means the one language is a foreign language to another. Thus for a Hindi speaking person Tamil, Malayalam, Kannad, Bengali etc all languages are foreign languages. Most grassroots people are not able to understand those languages nor English, so they need to read it in their own language. This is the effort to bring their dream true that they can also know about the outside world.




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Created by Sushma Gupta on November 27, 2018
Modified on 03/21/19