The Palace of Pleasure  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The first volume of his Palace of Pleasure by William Painter appeared in 1566, and was dedicated to the earl of Warwick. It included sixty tales, and was followed in the next year by a second volume containing thirty-four new ones. A second improved edition in 1575 contained seven new stories. Painter borrows from Herodotus, Boccaccio, Plutarch, Aulus Gellius, Aelian, Livy, Tacitus, Quintus Curtius; from Giovanni Battista Giraldi, Matteo Bandello, Ser Giovanni Fiorentino, Giovanni Francesco Straparola, Queen Marguerite of Navarre and others.

To the vogue of this and similar collections we owe the Italian setting of so large a proportion of the Elizabethan drama. The early tragedies of Appius and Virginia, and Tancred and Gismund were taken from The Palace of Pleasure; and among better-known plays derived from the book are the Shakespearean Romeo and Juliet, Timon of Athens, Edward III, All's Well That Ends Well (from Giletta of Narbonne), Beaumont and Fletcher's Triumph of Death and James Shirley's Love's Cruelty.

The Palace of Pleasure was edited by Joseph Haslewood in 1813. This edition was collated (1890) with the British Museum copy of 1575 by Mr. Joseph Jacobs, who added further prefatory matter, including an introduction dealing with the importance of Italian novella in Elizabethan drama.

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