Page:The Palace of Pleasure, Volume 1 (1890).djvu/16

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PREFACE.

perhaps been able to add something to Haslewood's work. From the Record Office and British Museum I have given a number of documents about Painter, and have recovered the only extant letter of our author. I have also gone more thoroughly into the literary history of each of the stories in the "Palace of Pleasure" than Haslewood thought it necessary to do. I have found Oesterley's edition of Kirchhof and Landau's Quellen des Dekameron useful for this purpose. I have to thank Dr. F. J. Furnivall for lending me his copies of Bandello and Belleforest.

I trust it will be found that the present issue is worthy of a work which, with North's "Plutarch" and Holinshed's "Chronicle," was the main source of Shakespeare's Plays. It had also, as early as 1580, been ransacked to furnish plots for the stage, and was used by almost all the great masters of the Elizabethan drama. Quite apart from this source of interest, the "Palace of Pleasure" contains the first English translations from the Decameron, the Heptameron, from Bandello, Cinthio and Straparola, and thus forms a link between Italy and England. Indeed as the Italian novelle form part of that continuous stream of literary tradition and influence which is common to all the great nations of Europe, Painter's book may be termed a link connecting England with European literature. Such a book as this is surely one of the landmarks of English literature.