Carved from a piece of wood by the old carpenter Geppetto, the puppet Pinocchio comes to life and immediately starts to misbehave. But while this beloved character has achieved literary immortality, the novel has been widely misunderstood. Pinocchio has a penchant for lying, to be sure, but it’s when he avoids going to school that he repeatedly gets into trouble. The Adventures of Pinocchio is thus not a cautionary tale about lying but an unusually timely fable for our increasingly authoritarian times–a story about the importance of education and of preventing others from pulling our strings.
This effervescent new translation captures the antic spirit that makes the mischievous, egotistical, and easily distracted Pinocchio a late nineteenth-century prototype for the likes of Bart Simpson. Featuring copious annotations informed by the translators’ deep knowledge of Italy, it reveals the novel to be not only a subversively entertaining children’s book but also a sophisticated satire reflecting the author’s concern for the social inequality of his time and his belief that duty to others is at the core of our humanity.