Collodi, Carlo

Collodi, Carlo
(pseud. Carlo Lorenzini, 1826–1890)
   Collodi was born in Florence. By profession a journalist, and a very successful one, he was also an ardent nationalist who fought as a volunteer in the wars of national liberation of 1848 and 1859. Collodi’s claim to fame rests, however, not on his journalism, or his place in the annals of the Risorgimento, but on his skill as a writer of children’s stories. In particular, in 1881, he published in the magazine Il Giornale per Bambini the first episode of what subsequently became Le avventure di Pinocchio (The Adventures of Pinocchio). The story of how Pinocchio was carved from a magical piece of wood by the childless carpenter Geppetto, becomes a living puppet with a mind of his own who disobeys both his father and the voice of conscience, and has many terrible adventures but is eventually transformed into a real boy by his courage and love for Geppetto is one of the most famous of all children’s tales. The moral of Collodi’s tale was that children should be obedient, hardworking, truthful, and studious if they wanted to grow up as decent individuals. But the story also features policemen who arrest the innocent while letting the bad go free, and a society in which children’s education is neglected (Pinocchio learns to write with a twig and blackberry juice instead of pen and ink). In Pinocchio, Collodi was also satirizing the absence of the Italian state as a moral force able to help its citizens choose the right path in life.
   Collodi died in Florence in 1890 after publishing several other children’s stories.
   See also Literature.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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