The Adventures of Pinocchio is a classic Italian children’s story written by Carlo Collodi (the pen name of Florentine writer Carlo Lorenzini) and is perhaps the most famous tale in Italy and one of the most translated novels in the whole world. Its first edition, which dates back to 1883, was published by the Felice Paggi publishing house and was enriched with drawings by Enrico Mazzanti.
During the last century the story has been made into several movies (like the TV series by Luigi Comencini which is also quite popular in Italy), theatre and musical (like the curious album of this Korean girl band) adaptations. However, the most famous one is the 1940 Walt Disney movie, which has been shown in almost every country of the world. In the Disney movie the plot has been simplified and softened: the main difference to the book is that in the movie Jimmy the Cricket is Pinocchio’s wise adviser who tells the story from the beginning to the end, while in the Collodi book he is crushed dead by Pinocchio after just a few lines.
A proof of the great influence the novel has had is apparent not only in the Italian culture but among cultures of many countries around the world, as seen in the proverbial images used by everyday people. Among these, the most used are the growing nose metaphor used when someone tells a lie and the “Land of Toys,” a place apparently appealing but that turns out to be a trap.
Speaking of languages, the novel by Collodi has also left clear evidence on the Italian language: apart from Pinocchio himself – who is the symbol of lying – there are also other examples such as the Cat and the Fox, used for friends that lead you to ruin, Candlewick, used as a synonym of a rascal, or Jimmy the Cricket (whose Italian name could be literally translated as “the Talking Cricket“), which is used for people whose wise advice is not taken into consideration. In Italy all these characters have become human types referred to in everyday language.