20 Pages

The Indomitable Giuseppe Pitrè

ByJack Zipes

If one were to name the greatest European folklorists of the nineteenthcentury, one might begin with the Brothers Grimm and move throughthe ranks of the enterprising British, German, Italian, and French pioneers and probably end with the names of James George Frazier, Arnold van Gennep, Joseph Bédier, Theodor Benfrey, Max Müller, Edward Tylor, Angelo De Gubernatis, Paul Sébillot, Jerome Curtin, Andrew Lang, Edward Clodd, Edwin Sidney Hartland, or Joseph Jacobs. Probably no one would list Giuseppe Pitrè, the versatile and brilliant Sicilian, whose works are totally neglected in the English-speaking world. Yet, Pitrè, more than the Grimms or any other folklorist of the nineteenth century, made greater contributions to laying the solid groundwork for major developments in collecting and preserving oral tales, songs, legends, anecdotes, and proverbs than any other scholar of his time.