(6/19/01 11:31:25 am)
| "Tales or the Monks" or "The Gesta Romanorum&|
Hi, I'm new to the forum and write my own great long-winded fairy tales. I've just finished my first collection and started sending it out to publishers. (I'll keep you posted.)
Anyway, my question is, has anyone else read this incredible bunch of stories, the Gesta Romanorum? Apparently it was one of Shakespeare's source books. About 20 years ago a friend knew I was looking for it and found a copy for me. It was printed at the turn of the last century and I've never met anyone else who's ever heard of it.
(6/19/01 8:56:07 pm)
Well, I sure don't know it. Would you mind giving a brief synopsis, or a general "feel" of the collection?
(6/19/01 11:15:11 pm)
Know it, never actually owned a copy, used the Smith College copy for research.
(6/20/01 5:50:20 am)
| visit it|
Yes, I am familiar with it as well. It makes for interesting reading and is a good primary source more than anything to get a feel for the style and what's important to the writers of the time. It is expensive to own though, (congratulations to you for finding a copy!) so like Jane, I go and visit it in the library from time to time. Laura...it's a collection of stories written circa 14th century, though the tales are probably a couple centuries older. It is a fascinating read though, realizing that Shakespeare used it for his source materials.
(6/20/01 7:18:36 am)
| RE: The Gesta Romanorum|
Well, halleluyah! someone else has read the darned thing. What did you think of it?
Down below are a few links to give you an idea of what literary history thinks of the Gesta. I'm a reader, not a scholar, and here's my take on it.
The book is a collection of traditional tales, much like the 1001 Nights and Brothers Grimm. Many of the stories could well predate the collection by a 1000 years. A bunch of Latin monks compiled the book and appended morals (for the betterment of their parishioners and (gak!) to the detriment of the tales).
Read without the stupid morals, they read like short, sweet, honest little gems from a time when people had left myth behind and hadn't quite got it together enough to write fairy tales. But you can easily see how fairy tales arose from them.
There's everything from wicked fables that'll remind you of the 1001 Nights' "Historic Fart"; sardonic tales like Gargantua and Pantagruel; dry nonsense that a neighbor would tell you about a friend-of-a-friend but that probably isn't true; and stories with all the themes and ingredients of wonder tales and fairy tales.
To me, they're great bedtime stories and about 75% of the couple hundred of them stand the test of time.
Anyway, keep it on your wish list.
The stories on the Web, below, are by no means the best of the book, but they'll give you a bit of the flavor.
Descriptive link: www.comptons.com/encyclop..._A.html#P7
Descriptive & story link: aol.bartleby.com/195/1.html
Story Link: members.tripod.com/~wacky...hlinfo.htm
A link citing the Gesta as one of the sources for the Merchant of
Venice (and some Latin Gesta stories): www.unibas.ch/shine/links...chant.html
(6/20/01 8:53:05 am)
Thanks for the links! It's nice to have some broad base knowledge of the text. As I think I am the only one who ever looks at them at the library I've felt rather lonely myself in reading them. You might enjoy another off beat collection (a little later and definately not by monks): "Italian Renaissance Tales" collected, translated and edited by Janet Smarr. They are a wonderful collections of tales from late 14thc-16th century. I think you will enjoy them for much the same reason as the Gesta.
(6/20/01 10:40:29 am)
| Re: thanks!|
Thanks for the tip. I just did a search for it. No mention on the Web and (your posts regarding it pop up frequently in search engines) the publisher, Solaris Press, may have gone belly up.
Oh, well, I'll keep an eye out for it on used book stores.
On the Web, Janet Smarr has a nice (if old) site with a gallery
of Renaissance women with books. www.complit.uiuc.edu/rw/i...llery.html
Might be good for some desktop wallpaper.