Warwick Goble, Basile's "Petrisonella" ("Parsley")
Yet despite their immense influence on the fairy tales we know and love today, the stories these men wrote were not widely accepted when they were published. At the time (16th century for Straparola, 17th for Basile,) the literary world was much concerned with the debate about what kind of fantastic fiction was acceptable to read. Fairy tales were widely looked down on as being fit only for crazy old women or simple young women.
Jules Garnier-frontspiece to Straparola's The Facetious Nights
Both collections of stories were organized in frame narratives, with each of the tales being told by narrators. In Straparola's collection, there were male and female narrators, but the fairy tales were only told by the women; the men told more realistic stories. Basile's stories were narrated by ten old women, each with some kind of deformity-limping, hunchbacked, large-nosed, drooling, etc.-which Bottigheimer says is a "grotesque parody" of Straparola's elegent women. Interestingly, when a later Italian reviewer defends the genre of fairy tales, he does is by comparing them to the epics and classics written by men that were held to be "good" literature, therefore masulinizing them.
Warwick Goble, Basile's "Sun, Moon, and Talia"
Fairy tale writer Carlo Gozzi (1720-1808) actually wrote his fairy tales precisely because he did NOT approve of them-he chose what he viewed a "lowly" form of story as the basis for a play simply to prove that audiences would watch anything and were not discerning. Yet in doing so, he ironically produced popular versions of fairy tales that did, indeed, have political and aesthetic points of view. The fairy tale as a genre would not be acceptable in high society until the French started writing and telling them.
*Information taken from Ruth Bottigheimer's Fairy Tales Framed: Early Forewords, Afterwords, and Critical Words (I got this book for Christmas, as well as the Baba Yaga book by Andreas Johns, so there will be more posts from each of these!)