Translated, with an Introduction,
by Robert L. Martone & Valerie Martone
Il Grasso Legnaiuolo gives the flavour of Florentine intellectualism. It is the story of a beffa or jest a trick played by Brunelleschi and his friends on the fat woodworker....
This picture of self-alienation, which is more terrifying and cleverer than anything in Pirandello, is told as a true incident, well known in its own time, which befell a certain Manetti degli Ammannatini....
The genius of Brunelleschi is the real hero of the tale; this genius, which found the way to calculate the vanishing point, could make a bulky man vanish or seem to himself to vanish, like a ball juggled by a conjurer, while still in plain sight.
Mary McCarthy, The Stones of Florence
Italica Press has published three books on the [Italian novella] tradition. One is a competent translation of the most famous and most brilliant of the novelle sciolte longish novelle that were not part of collections the story, called Il grasso legnaiuolo. Written by Antonio Manetti in the mid-fifteenth century, it commemorates a cunning practical joke engineered by the architect and builder Filippo Brunelleschi. Renaissance Comic Tales of Love, Treachery, and Revenge, edited and translated by Valerie Martone and Robert L. Martone, includes a wide-ranging collection of stories. Tales of Firenzuola is a reprinting of a well-regarded Victorian translation of the novelle of this important figure.
(James H. McGregor, University of Georgia
Speculum, Vol. 80, no. 1, January 2005, 171)
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