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||Carlo Collodi (1826-1890) - pseudonym for Carlo Lorenzini|
Italian author and journalist, best-known as the creator of Pinocchio, the wooden boy puppet who came to life. His nose grew larger when he told a lie and returned to normal size when he told the truth. The story has inspired many film makers, among them Walt Disney, whose animation from 1943 is well known. The Italian philosopher Benedetto Croce remarked that "the wood out of which Pinocchio is carved is humanity itself". Due to poor copyright protection, Collodi himself did not profit much from his creation.
"Lies, my boy, are known in a moment. There are two kinds of lies, lies with short legs and lies with long noses. Yours, just now, happen to have long noses." (from Adventures of Pinocchio, 1883)
Carlo Collodi was born Carlo Lorenzini in Florence, the son of
Domenico Lorenzini, a cook, and Angela Orzali, a servant. They both
worked for the Marquis Lorenzo Ginori. Collodi was
the first of ten children. Only two of his siblings managed to survive
childhood. Much of his childhood the young Carlo spent in the
hillside village of Collodi outside of Florence. His father was hardly
able to support his large family.
After attending primary school in the village, Collodi
sent with the help of the Marquis Ginori to study for the priesthood at
the seminary of Val d'Elsa.
However, he had no desire to join the clergy. The most important figure
in his youth was Father Zipoli, a scholar and eccentric. While living
with him, Collodi learnt to play the piano well.
By the time he was sixteen, Collodi entered the College of the Scolopi Fathers, where he studied
philosophy and rhetoric,
and then went to work at the Libera
Piatti, a leading bookstore in Florence, which also had a small press.
Through his job, as he penned reviews for the bookshops's catalogue,
Collodi met a number of
intellectuals and writers and developed interest in literature.
movement for Italian national unification spread, Collodi plunged into
politics. He joined the Tuscan army as a volunteer and participated in
the unsuccessful battles of Curtatone and Montanara. At the age of 22,
he became a journalist to work for Italian
independence struggle against the Austrians. To enlighten the people,
he founded the satirical journal Il Lampione (The Street Lamp), which was soon suppressed. His next periodical, La Scaramuccia (The Controversy), was more fortunate, and in 1860 he revived Il Lampione
again. Collodi also wrote comedies, which did not have much success. In 1860 he published a booklet titled Il signor Alberi ha ragione! Dialogo apologetico
under the name 'Collodi'. This was the first time he used the
pseudonym, taken from his mother's hometown in the Pescia region. Mainly he wrote under the
name Lorenzini. Several stories were published in Io Fanfulla, Almanacco per il 1876 and Il Novelliere. The first book that came out under the pseudonym C. Collodi was Macchiette (1879, Sketches), which dealt with Florentine life.
During the Second war of Independence, Collodi
served in the cavalry. In 1861, when Italy became a united nation under
Giuseppe Garibaldi, 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. 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. To keep up with his growing
gambling debts, he wrote a series of elementary school textbooks on
commission. In 1881 Collodi left public administration with a pension
of 2,200 lire per annum. After a life of drinking and gambling, he went
to live with his brother's family and their mother, "to be re-educated,
in order to go back to that good child he once was and that she had
raised," as his nephew, Paolo Lorenzini jr. said. (The Fabulous Journeys of Alice and Pinocchio: Exploring Their Parallel Worlds by Laura Tosi with Peter Hunt, 2018, p. 41)
Collodi himself never had children and he felt that writing for children was not his true calling; he referred to Storia di un burattino (Story of a Puppet) as "childish twaddle". Originally he was asked in 1881 to write a series of stories for a new children's weekly, Il giornale per i bambini. Trying to end the series, he left the puppet hanging on a tree called Big Oak in the November 10 issue, with "finale" printed at the end. Pinocchio's last words, echoing the words of Christ dying, were: "Oh, Father, dear Father! If you were only here!" Following a storm of protests by parents and young readers alike, Collodi was forced to bring his wooden protagonist back to life. Pinocchio is cut down from his cross and rescued by the Fairy. After the publication off the last instalment in January 1883, the pieces were collected in book form and issued under the title Le avventure di Pinocchio (The Adventures of Pinocchio). It was an immediate success, but not everyone was taken with Pinocchio's antiauthoritatian character: some church fathers were afraid that he would encourage rebellion. – Collodi continued to write almost exclusively for children until his sudden death in Florence on October 26, 1890. At the time he was working on a sequel to the Adventures of Pinocchio. Collodi never married.
Pinocchio begins like a traditional Tuscan tale, in which an old man is telling a story to children. The narrator relates how a carpenter, called Master Cherry, gives a piece of firewood to his neighbor, an old man called Geppetto. The block can cry and laugh. Hoping to make a living as a puppeteer, Geppetto carves the piece into a child-marionette; he is christened Pinocchio.
Alive in the beginning of the story, the puppet has to
learn how to be generous through hard lessons. His feet are burned off,
he is chained as a watch dog, almost pan fried, and even hanged by assassins after a long pursuit. "...I am a heedless
Marionette--heedless and heartless," Pinocchio says. "Oh! If I had only
had a bit of heart..." Eventually Pinocchio ceases to be a Marionette
and becomes a boy. The lesson is that "Boys who love and take good care
of their parents when they are old and sick, deserve praise even though
they may not be held up as models of obedience and good behavior."
Original illustration was made by Eugenio Mazzanti (1883), who also illustrated the fables of La Fontaine. The story
was translated into English in 1892 by M.A. Murray.
"The Adventures of Pinocchio
by Carlo Collodi is the perfect book for any age," the American rock
songwriter, singer, and poet Patti Smith has said. "It addresses
creation, the war between good and evil, redemption, and
transfiguration in one beloved tale." (The Guardian, 19 October 2019)
There are a number of screen adaptations of the story and
endless amount of sequels, even a fascist Pinocchio (Avventure e spedizioni punitive di Pinocchio Fascista,
written by Giuseppe Petrai, illustrated by Giove Toppi, 1923), in which
the wooden puppet fight communism, and a Soviet Pinocchio, renamed as
Buratino (Zolotoy kliuchik ili prikliuchenia Buratino
by Aleksey Nikolaevich Tolstoy, 1936). Tolstoy's version is not so much
of acquiring individuality as becoming a useful member of society.
Giulio Antamoro made a silent film version in 1911.
Roberto Benigni's Pinocchio (2002) was cut for the American audience.
Luigi Comencini's film version from 1972, starring Gina Lollobrigina, was more faithful to the somber original story than Walt Disney's animated movie, produced in 1940; it eliminated Collodi's anarchic spirit and references to poverty. Moreover, the Cricket, who is squashed by Pinocchio early in the book, is resurrected as Jiminy Cricket. The movie, which is among the most innovative that the studio had produced, was a flop when it was first released.
Disney's Geppetto is a toymaker (not a poor woodcarver, as in the book). One day he completes a marionette, Pinocchio. His prayer that the puppet might become a real boy is heard and Blue Fairy gives the marionette life. He is told that he can become a real boy only after he has discovered bravery, truth and unselfishness. Jiminy Cricket is Pinocchio's Conscience. After tricks by J. Worthington Foulfellow and Gideon, Pinocchio is imprisoned by evil puppeteer Stromboli. Pinocchio lies about his circumstances and his nose grows long. On his way to home, Pinocchio is taken by Foulfellow to Coachman's Pleasure Island, where boys are transformed into donkeys for sale. Jiminy saves Pinocchio, but not before the marionette has become part-donkey. Reaching home they discover their friends have been swallowed by the whale Monstro. The two rescue them, but Pinocchio is apparently dead. With the Blue Fairy's radiance Pinocchio comes alive and a real boy.
The story includes a complex web of moral questions. Critics have noted the contrast between wealth and poverty, references to bourgeois mentality, and distaste for the hypocrisy of the judicial system. When a moralizing cricket – his external conscience – gets in his face, it gets squashed. Collodi's Pinocchio is more selfish and aggressive than Disney's toy boy. Eventually Pinocchio grows from an egoistic child, guided by the pleasure principle, into an adult who understands the feelings of other people. The psychological studies of the story include Freudian analysis of the puppet's nose – of course – and a Jungian approach to 'shadow' figures such as Lampwick.