Books: Magic from Long-Forgotten Tales

ITALIAN FOLKTALES Selected and Retold by Italo Calvino Translated by George Martin; Harcourt Brace Jovanovich; 763 pages; $25

Once upon a time there was a writer named Italo Calvino. Although he liked making up stories, he also wanted to read older ones in his own language. "Was there an Italian equivalent of the Brothers Grimm?" he wondered one day. No answer came. So he set out on a quest. He spent two years studying obscure texts and dusty monographs, rescuing long-forgotten tales from all the regions of his native land. Finally, he ended his labors and brought forth a magic book.

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