Leporello – the nightmare that enriched my vocabulary

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Tree-bark manuscript] Batak Divination Book in Toba-Batak language from the end of the 19th Century

Tree-bark manuscript] Batak Divination Book in Toba-Batak language from the end of the 19th century

Tree-bark manuscript] Batak Divination Book in Toba-Batak language from the end of the 19th Century

Leporello. Leporello? I woke up in the dead of night, sweat trickling down my brow. The room was icy and the moon hang low and huge outside my window. Two inches from my face were the yellow eyes of my cat Morris. The deapth of those eyes… Unfathomable. But I knew what he wanted from me. I had known it all along, all since my last post. Leporello. He was here to remind me that I should admit to my ignorance and make amends. What the heck is a Leporello? I couldn’t put it off any longer. I had to find out.

Leporello sounds like a dubious pizza. Or a brothel for lepers. Possibly a brothel run by lepers. But it couldn’t be that easy.

At tree o’clock I consultet Wikipedia. Morris watched me attentively. I wasn’t going to get away with half-measures.

Leporello books- also known as Concertina books

The term leporello refers to printed material folded into an accordion-pleat style. Also sometimes known as a concertina fold, it is a method of parallel folding with the folds alternating between front and back. The name likely comes from the manservant, Leporello, in Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni. Famed rogue and lover Don Giovanni (in Italian – also known as Don Juan in Spanish) has seduced so many women that when Leporello displays a tally of his conquests, it unfolds, accordion-style, into a shockingly long list. Many leporellos are used as a way of telling a story, while others are purely visual.

In the Victorian era, leporellos were quite commonly used as travel souvenirs, depicting beautiful, panoramic scenes of the places travelers had just seen, customs and culture of the region and the like. They are often used in illustrated children’s works, as well.

 So, the Word Leporello comes from:

Leporello, Don Giovanni's manservant with impressive Leporello  list of conquests.

Leporello, Don Giovanni’s manservant with impressive Leporello list of conquests.

Concertina fold is really an accordion fold named after the small Concertina accordion used (among others) by Pinocchio’s stepfather Gepetto.

Gepetto merrily playing his Concertina. Cleo the goldfish is levitating.

Gepetto merrily playing his Concertina.

Playing along with his dogs.

Playing along with his dogs.

Concertina frenzy.

Concertina frenzy.

And the very popular Concertina Postcard Books looked something like this:

Tiny vintage Concertina postcard book.

Tiny vintage Concertina postcard book.

Tiny vintage Concertina postcard book.

Tiny vintage Concertina postcard book.

Some examples of Leporello books:

le petit chaperon rouge - Clementine Sourdais

le petit chaperon rouge – Clementine Sourdais

Review here:  https://pagefiddler.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/le-petit-chaperon-rouge-clementine-sourdais/

French Alphabet book, Paris 1850.

French Alphabet book, Paris 1850.

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Cuatro Gatos Negros Flacos.

Cuatro Gatos Negros Flacos.

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