June 19 , 2008

The Decameron


The Decameron is a collection of stories by the 14th-century Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio, structured as an overarching bridge containing 100 tales of love, adventure and surprising twists of fortune which later inspired Chaucer, Keats and Shakespeare.

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The Decameron of Giovanni Boccaccio

The Decameron is written as framed narrative which is a literary compositional technique that allows various different stories to be related within a previously introduced main story.  The Decameron tells a story of ten young Florentines who have fled from the Black Plague to reside in Naples.  The one hundred allegorical stories are…

In the early summer of 1348, as a terrible plague ravages the city of Florence, ten young Florentines take refuge in various country villas to tell each other stories—all while seeking to escape the Black Death.

In addition to its literary value and widespread influence (for example on Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales), it provides a document of life at that time.

Written in the vernacular of the Florentine language, it is considered a masterpiece of classical early Italian prose.

While Dante is a stern moralist, Boccaccio has little patience for notions of chastity, pokes fun at hypocritical clerics, and celebrates the power of passion to overcome obstacles and social divisions.

Like the Dante’s Divine Comedy, The Decameron is a towering monument of medieval pre-Renaissance literature, and incorporates certain important elements that are not at once apparent to today's readers.


GIOVANNI BOCCACCIO (1313-1375) was the creator of numerous works of prose and poetry. Of his achievements, The Decameron, completed sometime between 1350 and 1352, remains his lasting contribution to world literature, enormously popular from its original appearance to the present day.

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