It is a delight to put online The Italian Novelists, the only thorough collection of Italian short fiction in the public domain. Along with the stories he translated into English, Thomas Roscoe includes more information on the authors than is to be found on the web to date, in English at least.
The stories range from selections from the earliest known Italian tales to the 19th century. Some are funny, some tragic, some typical of the cruelty that sadly seems to be a permanent part of the unchanging nature of mankind.
Roscoe translates the stories in the style of the period in which they were written, which was fairly ornate in some cases, but not unusual for the times. This may take some getting used to, but it is only difficult to us now, for those of us who have been educated at standards much lower than those that prevailed in teaching for many of the previous centuries .
Many of the stories were used as models for later European authors, including Shakespeare, as Roscoe tells us in his preliminary notes. Period touches abound in these novels. Despite this, the tales strike the same chords in readers of today that were first felt by those readers who lived and read the work when it was first published, whether on parchment or paper.
This vast collection of short stories is a pageant: the best sellers that entertained the world for 800 years. They still do. See for yourself, by clicking ont the title: