Il Pentamerone; or, The Tale of Tales (in 2 vols)
London: Henry and Co., 1893. Two octavo volumes ( 216 x 134 mm). Bound ca. 1920 by Sangorski & Sutcliffe for J.W. Robinson Company (stamp-signed in black on verso of front endleaves). Covers triple ruled in gilt, spines with five raised bands elaborately tooled in gilt in compartments. Two black morocco labels lettered in gilt. Gilt ruled board edges , decorative gilt turn-ins, navy blue endpapers with gilt 'moon' design, all edges gilt. Small chip on one of the spine labels on volume II. With the original gilt lettered black cloth covers and spines bound in at the end of each volume. Collating Axvi, 282; vi, -562. Housed in the original paper covered cardboard slipcase, matching the endpapers. A near fine example.
The Pentameron is “a collection of fifty folk tales modelled on the Decameron and written in the Neapolitan dialect by Giambattista Basile (c. 1575-1632) and first published at Naples in 1637. The stories were supposed to have been told by ten old women during five days, to a Moorish slave who had taken the place of the true princess” (Brewer’s Dictionary). Throughout his career as a translator, Burton relished bringing to print works from around the world that contained lusty content and controversial use of language. One of the foremost linguists of his time, Burton was also an outstanding explorer, poet, translator, ethnologist, and archaeologist. Notably, Burton's translation was one of a group of manuscripts that Lady Isabel Burton deemed sufficiently innocuous to escape the notorious burning that she undertook of her husbands writings after his death.
Penzer, 155-156. (Item #3581)