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Born in Naples, Basile, first a soldier, achieved renown as a versatile court poet while serving as an administrator for various dukes and princes in Italy. He settled in Naples in 1613 and wrote odes and madrigals for one of his sisters, a famous singer, as well as court entertainments such as the five-act musical La Venere addolorata (Sorrowful Venus). Toward the end of his life he championed Neopolitan culture and wrote works in dialect, such as Le Muse Neopolitane (Neopolitan Muses, 1635), nine ecologues in dialect that concern daily life in Naples. Basile's major work, Lo Cunto de li Cunti (The Story of Stories, 1634), a collection of fairy tales in dialect, was completed before he died and published posthumously. By 1674 his book became known as The Pentamerone and influenced the development of the fairy tale genre throughout Europe.