Volltext: A history of caricature and grotesque in literature and art

and Art. 
fome novelty in their character, a word which was transferred into the 
French language under the form of nozwelles, and was the origin of our 
modern Engliih novel, applied to a work of notion. The Italian novelitts 
adopted the Eaftern plan of itringing thefe Itories together on the flight 
framework of one general plot, in which are introduced caufes for telling 
them and perfons who tell them. Thus the Decameron of Boccaccio 
holds towards the fabliaux exactly the fame pohtion as that of the 
"Arabian Nights" to the older Arabian tales. The Italian novelills 
became numerous and celebrated throughout Europe, from the time of 
Boccaccio to that of Straparola, at the commencement of the iixteenth 
century, and later. The taiie for this clafs of literature appears to have 
been introduced into France at the court of Burgundy, where, under 
duke Philippe le Bon, a well-known courtier and man of letters named 
Antoine de La Sale, who had, during a fojourn in Italy, become 
acquainted with one of the molt celebrated of the earlier Italian collections, 
the " Cento Novello," or the Hundred Novels, compiled a collection in 
French. in imitation of them, under the title of "Les Cent Nouvelles 
N ouvelles," or the Hundred new Novels, one of the pureft examples of the 
French language in the fifteenth century."-' The later French Itory-books, 
fuch as the Heptameron of the queen of Navarre, and others, belong chiefly 
to the fixteenth century. Thefe collections of Itories can hardly be faid 
to have ever taken root in this ifland as a part of Engliih literature. 
But there arofe partly out of thefe {tories a clafs of books which 
became greatly multiplied, and were, during a long period, extremely 
popular. With the houfehold fool, or jelter, initead of the old jougleur, 
the Itories had been {horn of their detail, and fank into the fhape of mere 
witty anecdotes, and at the fame time a taite arole for what we now clafs 
under the general term of jefts, clever fayings, what the French call bons 
mots, and what the Englilh of the fixteenth century termed " quick 
 I am obliged to pass over this part of the subject very rapidly. For the 
history of that remarkable book, the " Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles," I would reler 
the reader to the preface to my own edition, " Les Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles, 
publiees d'apres le seul manuscrit connu, avec Introduction et Notes, par M. Thomas 
Wright." 2. vols. 12m0., Paris, 1858.


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