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"La storia di un burattino" (The story of a puppet) was published over several months of 1881 in the Giornale per i bambini, a very popular children's magazine.

Pinocchio was written in the mature and final phase of Collodi's career. Collodi, who died in 1890, was respected during his lifetime as a talented writer and social commentator, but his fame did not begin to grow, like his puppet's nose, until Pinocchio was translated into English for the first time in 1892, then in the widely read Everyman's edition of 1911. His critical fortunes were bolstered by the powerful philosopher-critic Benedetto Croce, who had great admiration for the tale of the puppet.

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