As I mentioned in yesterday’s FAQ, Giovannino Guareschi wrote 347 Don Camillo stories between 1946 and 1966. They were originally published individually — one chapter at a time, if you will — in Italian periodicals, the vast majority of them debuting in Guareschi’s own weekly paper, Candido, between 1946 and 1960. Then, from time to time, some of the stories were collected and published in book form, three such volumes appearing in Italian during the author’s lifetime (in 1948, 1953, and 1963) and a fourth just posthumously (in 1969). [In subsequent decades more posthumous collections were published in Italian, culminating in the late 1990s with a complete, multi-volume omnibus entitled Tutto Don Camillo.]
In English, we only ever got the stories in book form. Six volumes were published between 1950 and 1969; four of these were translations of the original four Italian Don Camillo books alluded to above, while two were unique collections put together expressly for publication in English. Taken together they comprise only 132 of the Don Camillo stories.
Here are the titles of the Don Camillo books in English. Over the next few days, I intend to devote a separate post to each one of them.
- The Little World of Don Camillo (1950): a translation of the original 1948 Italian book Mondo Piccolo: Don Camillo. Significantly, the English-language version omits the Prologue and 15 of the stories found in its Italian counterpart.
- Don Camillo and His Flock (US title) / Don Camillo and the Prodigal Son (UK) (1952): a translation of the 1953 Italian book Don Camillo e il suo gregge. The US version contains one more story than the UK version.
- Don Camillo’s Dilemma (1954): does not correspond to an Italian book, but was assembled specifically for export to the English-language market
- Don Camillo Takes the Devil by the Tail (US title) / Don Camillo and the Devil (UK) (1957): also does not correspond to an Italian book, but was assembled specifically for export to the English-language market. The US version contains two more stories than the UK version, which also inverts the order of the final stories in the book.
- Comrade Don Camillo (1964): a translation of the 1963 Italian book Il Compagno Don Camillo. The first Don Camillo book to read more like a novel than a story collection.
- Don Camillo Meets the Flower Children (US title) / Don Camillo Meets Hell’s Angles (UK) (1969 / 1970): a translation of the 1969 Italian book Don Camillo e i giovani d’oggi. Again, more like a novel than a story collection. This was the last Don Camillo book in English; published posthumously.
Over the years, various omnibus editions of the Don Camillo stories have also been published in English. The most comprehensive was a 1980 one containing the complete texts of the UK editions of the first five books.