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The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
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The Decameron

by Giovanni Boccaccio

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5,66553753 (4.05)172
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» See also 172 mentions

English (37)  Dutch (5)  German (2)  Spanish (2)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Catalan (1)  Finnish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (52)
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
When the Black Death hit Florence, six people fled to an aristocrat's abandoned villa and while enjoying everything available, pass the time telling tales to avoid thinking of the Plague. A wonderful book. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
The recent Rebhorn translation is outstanding: his contemporary English is supported by clear Notes on medieval practices that the reader may not be familiar with. In addition to the stories restricted to different themes each day, as decided by that day's 'queen' or 'king' among the young party, I found it interesting to discover Boccaccio's "world" as he understood it- the late medieval memory of earlier empires affecting their classification of foreign regions. Boccaccio's rich sense of humanity is exhibited among his characters. He writing is funny, satirical; his use of metaphors to describe some of more earthy escapades are, all the same, quite effective in letting the reader know exactly what is being described. And he also uses the language and traditions of courtly love where appropriate. ( )
  Diane-bpcb | May 26, 2014 |
A collections of tales. Smartness wins against prejudice and religion, love against cupidity. Literature wins over death, joy and laughter win against ignorance and desperation. A positive message from a great book. A book that created a language. ( )
  Peppuzzo | May 5, 2014 |
Quality of Writing: 9 out of 10
Pace: 7 out of 10
Plot Development: 7 out of 10
Characters: 8 out of 10
Enjoyability: 7 out of 10
Insightfulness: 9 out of 10
Ease of Reading: 7 out of 10
Photos/Illustrations: NA ( )
  AprilAnn0814 | Apr 15, 2014 |
It's unlikely that I could say anything about the Decameron that hasn't been said before, but I would like to add my voice to the many who have praised the McWilliam English translation. His prose is hilarious where the intent is humourous, formal where appropriate, and in general both idiomatic and clever. The Decameron is a long read but comes served in bite-size narrative chunks, and it is never not entertaining. This might be one of my favourite Penguins ever.

I started reading this after finishing the Penguin edition of Jacobus de Voragine's The Golden Legend, with which it shares many plot structures and twists. But whereas the lives of the saints as told in the Legend are all within the framework of fraught religion, Boccaccio's basic framework is unfraught sex—definitely more fun to read.

My only slight regret is that I wish I'd read Dante prior to this, just to give me more of the source background. But I will for sure be adding The Divine Comedy to my reading agenda for the near future. ( )
  jrcovey | Mar 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)

In many of the stories, and more strikingly in the poems/songs which conclude each day, a close reader can also detect an allegorical element in which the soul is depicted as a lost lover, seeking to return to paradise. Originally a concept from the mystery religions, this allegorical treatment became very popular in the Middle Ages, particularly as an important aspect of the courtly love tradition.
added by camillahoel | editRead And Find Out, Tom (Sep 11, 2009)
 

» Add other authors (173 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Giovanni Boccaccioprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aldington, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bakker, MargotTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bergin, Thomas G.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bondanella, Peter E.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bosschère, Jean deIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Branca, VittoreEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buckland-Wright, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cipolla, FrateCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
De Boschere, JeanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hutton, EdwardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kredel, FritzIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McWilliam, G. H.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Musa, MarkTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Payne, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rebhorn, Wayne A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vallverdú, FrancescTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winwar, FrancesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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1573 ( [1527]Italy)
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Proem:

A kindly thing it is to have compassion of the afflicted and albeit it well beseemeth every one, yet of those is it more particularly required who have erst had need of comfort and have found it in any, amongst whom, if ever any had need thereof or held it dear or took pleasure therein aforetimes, certes, I am one of these.
Gracious Ladies, so often as I consider with my selfe, and observe respectively, how naturally you are enclined to compassion; as many times doe I acknowledge, that this present worke of mine, will (in your judgement) appeare to have but a harsh and offensive beginning, in regard of the mournfull remembrance it beareth at the verie entrance of the last Pestilentiall mortality, universally hurtfull to all that beheld it, or otherwise came to knowledge of it. But for all that, I desire it may not be so dreadfull to you, to hinder your further proceeding in reading, as if none were to looke thereon, but with sighs and teares. For, I could rather wish, that so fearfulle a beginning, should seeme but as an high and steepy hil appeares to them, that attempt to travell farre on foote, and ascending the same with some difficulty, ome afterward to walk upo a goodly even plaine, which causeth the more cotentment in them, because the attayning thereto was hard and painfull. For even as pleasures are cut off by griefe and anguish; so sorrowes cease by joyes most sweete and happie arriving.
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Book description
A group of travelers entertain each other by telling tales and stories of naughtiness and debauchery, happy ending and ironic adventures.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140449302, Paperback)

In the early summer of the year 1348, as a terrible plague ravages the city, ten charming young Florentines take refuge in country villas to tell each other stories—a hundred stories of love, adventure and surprising twists of fortune which later inspired Chaucer, Keats and Shakespeare. While Dante is a stern moralist, Boccaccio has little time for chastity, pokes fun at crafty, hypocritical clerics and celebrates the power of passion to overcome obstacles and social divisions. Like the 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. In a new introduction to this revised edition, which also includes additional explanatory notes, maps, bibliography and indexes, Professor McWilliam shows us Boccaccio for what he is—one of the world's greatest masters of vivid and exciting prose fiction.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:54:23 -0400)

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Translated with an Introduction and Notes by G. H. McWilliam.

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