About the Author

Portrait of Carlo Collodi (Lorenzini)

Italian author and journalist, best-known as the creator of Pinoccio, the wooden boy puppet who came to life and whose nose grew larger when he told a lie and returned to normal size when he told the truth. The story has inspired many film makers, among them Walt Disney, whose animation from 1943 is well known. The Italian philosopher Benedetto Croce remarked that 'the wood out of which Pinoccio is carved is humanity itself'.

Collodi was born in Florence, and joined a seminary as a young man. However, Collodi found politics more interesting, when the movement for Italian national unification spread. At the age of 22, he took to journalism to work for Italian independence struggle. In 1848 he founded the satirical journal Il Lampione, which was suppressed in 1849. His next periodical, La Scaramuccia, was more fortunate, and in 1860 he revived Il Lampione again. Collodi also wrote comedies and edited newspapers and reviews, assuming the pseudonym 'Collodi' from the the name of the town, where his mother was born and where he spent time as a boy.

In 1861, when Italy became a united nation, Collodi gave up journalism. After 1870 he settled down as a theatrical censor and magazine editor. He turned soon to children's fantasy, translating Italian versions of the fairy tales of the French writer Charles Perrault's. It was Perrault who reintroduced such half-forgotten tales as 'Little Red Riding Hood', 'Sleeping Beauty', and 'Puss in Boots'. Collodi also began to write his own children's stories, including a series about a character named Giannettino. The first chapter of Pinocchio appeared in the Giornale dei bambini in 1881, and became an immediate success. The story depicted a wooden puppet carved by a friendly old man called Geppetto. Pinocchio comes to life but has to learn how to be generous. Original illustration was made by Eugenio Mazzanti (1883). The story was first translated into English in 1892 by M.A. Murray. - Collodi died in Florence on October 26, 1890.

Pinocchio includes a complex web of metaphor and allusion to then-present social and emotional issues. Several critics have noted the antiauthoritarian tone and working-class ethic of the novel, the contrast between wealth and poverty, and distaste for the hypocrisy of the judicial system. The psychological studies of the story include Freudian analysis of the puppet's nose - of course - and a Jungian approach to 'shadow' figures such as Lampwick.

Most author biographies courtesy of Author's Calendar. Used with permission.