Translated from the Italian by M[ary]. A[lice]. Murray. Illustrated by C.[sic] Mazzanti. London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1892. Original cream cloth decorated in blue, with endpapers and page edges to match.
First Edition in English, issued as a volume in Unwin's "The Children's Library." Lorenzini (1826-1890 -- he used his mother's native village in Tuscany as his pseudonym "Collodi") was a prolific journalist; he wrote "Storia di un Burattino" (The Story of a Marionette) for 1881-1883 serialization in "Il Giornale per i Bambini," at the end of which it first appeared in book form in Italian (Florence 1883 -- the only copy we have seen on the market was priced at $67,500). Although it would become one of the most widely read juvenile classics, Collodi received little for it; it was not translated into English until two years after his death, for this edition.
In Lorenzini's serial version, Pinocchio was not an endearing boy beset by temptation, but rather a nasty disgrace; PINOCCHIO, written as a warning to boys, did not end happily: as still occurs at the end of Chapter 15, due to his moral shortcomings Pinocchio is hanged from a tree by his enemies the Fox and the Cat. At the urging of his editors, for the Italian book version Lorenzini added Chapters 16-36, featuring "the fairy with blue hair" to rescue Pinocchio from the hanging, and to guide him toward his redemption (and a happy ending).
It is interesting to note the differences between this original version and the version we are most familiar with today, that of Disney's 1940 animated film: it was Disney who softened the character of Pinocchio from a wicked wretch into a charming ragamuffin. Disney retained the "talking cricket" of Lorenzini's book but named him Jiminy, and had Pinocchio swallowed by a whale rather than by a dog-fish.
Unwin's "The Children's Library" was a handsome production: a busy floral design decorates not only the front and rear covers and spine, but also the endpapers and the edges of the leaves. The half-title and title pages are printed in black and red, and the text pages are peppered with Enrico (the "C." on the title page is an error) Mazzanti's illustrations from the original serialization.
This is a very good-plus copy, with the two flaws this book almost always suffers from: the cream spine has some sunning and fading, and the rather thick little volume is slightly aslant. As for the front and rear covers, there is less of the cover soil and wear that typically afflict this rather delicate book intended to be handled by children. Item #13172