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As my last project, I am eager to translate very old folktales books published 100 years ago - means around 1900 and before. This project covers not only such old materials but some other rare books too.


Solomon and Marcolf
In 1521 a book was published titled as "The talks that the King Salomon the clever had with Marcolf" in Polish. The earliest known version of this tale in Old English are the ones commonly referred to as "Solomon and Saturnus", first published by JN Kemble in 1848. The tale was popular in Germany where Marcolf became a sort of type of the "wise fool". Its French version was printed in 13th century. It was adapted in several other languages too - Dutch, Greek, Icelandic etc languages. These are two editions in English, one published by Gerard Leeu (1492), and other "Sayings or Proverbes of King Solomon, with the Answers of Marcolfus" printed by Richard Pynson in 1550.

Solomon and Saturn is the generic name given to four  Old English works - two poetic and two prose dialogs. which present a dialog of riddles between the King of Israel Solomon and Saturn identified in two of the poems tradition as a Prince of the Chaldeans. The debate of which there are two poetic dialogs known as "Solomon and Saturn I" and "Solomon and Saturn II"  are older than the two prose ones but are often read as a single continuous poem. They are considered some of the most notoriously difficult poems of the Old English Corpus to date.

Although no exact evidence about their origin exists, but it has been argued that the Old English Solomon dialogs might date back to the times of King Alfred (871-886 AD). He is the only English King to have earned the title of "Great", while some say it fits into the mid 10th century. Both poetic dialogs present Saturn a Chaldean Prince who had searched the lore of Libya, Greece and India, questioning King Solomon about a range of apparently unrelated and chaotically arranged topics. Solomon and Saturn texts are often considered the earliest forms of a wider European literary tradition that comprises similar works such as the Dialog Between Solomon and Marcolf (2012). It has been translated from Latin to Medieval English. The same text is available with the title "The Dialogue or Communing Between the Wise King Solomon and Marcolphus", edited by E Gordon Duff (1892).

"Solomon and Saturn II" is even more of a colloquy than the first one and that is why it has proven notoriously difficult to interpret. The dialog here is initiated by Saturn and there appears no sense of unifying there as was in the case of "Solomon and Saturn I".


This book is the collection of folktales from Italy. It was written by Giovanni Bocacciao published in 1353. It has been translated into
--German (Felix Liebrecht, 1846),
--English (John Edward Taylor, 1847; Norman N Penzer, 1934; Nancy L Canepa, 2007)
--Italian (Benedetto Croce, 1925)


This book is one of the oldest fairy tales book published in the 17th century. Its title is "Il Pentamerone" and it ws written by Giambattista Basile, but was published posthumously by his sister under the pseudonym Gian Alesio Abbatutis in two volumes in 1634 and 1636.

Its special feature is that while other collections have included that would be termed fairy tales, but this work is the first collection in which all the stories fit in that category. He did not transcribe them from the oral tradition, instead wrote them in Neapolitan language and in many respects was the first writer to preserve oral intonations.

It is structured around a frame story in which 50 stories are related over the course of five days by 10 deformed women, in analogy with the 10-day structure of the much earlier book "Decamerone" (Deca means 10 and Penta means 5).




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Created by Sushma Gupta on November 27, 2013
Modified on 04/01/19