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The Decameron

by Giovanni Boccaccio

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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7,93776764 (4.01)244
Revised for the seven hundredth anniversary of the author's birth, this tale of medieval Italian life details how ten young Florentines retreat to the countryside to escape the plague-infested city and entertain themselves by telling stories.
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» See also 244 mentions

English (51)  Dutch (8)  Spanish (5)  German (2)  Catalan (2)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (75)
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
This is one of my favorite books of all time! ( )
  johnthelibrarian | Aug 11, 2020 |
Black plague vacation
love letter to cuckolding,
mean pranks, horny nuns. ( )
1 vote Eggpants | Jun 25, 2020 |
The Decameron is a daunting book to pick up, given that it's over eight hundred and thirty pages of 14th century writing. What's more, it's an equally daunting book to review, as it's essentially a collection of short stories and it seems insufficient to review the whole – but just plain foolish to review all hundred tales separately instead.

Boccaccio's work is of great importance to the literary tradition, but for me, as a historian, it's the social setting of the tales and their underlying belief system that is most fascinating. In a sense, the stories themselves are of no great excitement to the modern reader, beyond the fact that they prove that some things really are timeless. There is an abundance of romance, plenty of trickery, smatterings of sex and the occasional moral for good measure. Usually, the guy will get the gal, but occasionally the gal will get the guy or they'll both die horrible deaths.

Indeed, the predictability and repetitiveness of the stories is The Decameron's main downfall. It's not a book that is easy to read in one go. After a point, I made the decision to read it a day (or ten stories) at a time, reading other books in between sessions, and my enjoyment increased greatly once I put this into practice. Many of the days involve ten stories told around a single theme, which tends to highlight the similarities in the collected tales. This didn't bother me when it came to the themes I particularly enjoyed – the two days' worth of tales of trickery, for example – but made the less-interesting themes seem to drag even longer.

The historical value of The Decameron is utterly priceless, however. Through fiction, the modern reader can learn so much about the society and social mores of Boccaccio's time. The way in which the clergy is described was fascinating – both in terms of corruption and active sexuality. There are descriptions of political hierarchies, occupations, social groups, marriage rites, leisure activities and family routines. Each one of these hundred stories contains so much excellent information about 14th century Italian life.

Most intriguing to me is the way in which Boccaccio portrays his female characters. The quote above is uttered by one of the seven women in the prelude to her ninth story, which is a strong encouragement to husbands to soundly beat their wives. It's an uncomfortable piece of writing, made more so by the knowledge that it is a woman who has been chosen as the moral's advocate. And yet, elsewhere, Boccaccio's women act in surprising ways. Women are portrayed as being smart, brave, strong, witty, loyal and accomplished. They are shown to possess healthy sexual appetites, rather than the common extremes of animalistic urges or chaste disinterest. Throughout the book, there is an obvious conflict between the accepted boundaries for women and the actual diverse natures of women, who may just as easily laugh at bawdy tales of lustful nuns as they may assert their own virtue.

The Boccaccio may be a daunting book to pick up, but it is worth the time you'll spend buried in its pages. As a work of fiction, it is witty, romantic and perceptive; as a work of history, it is invaluable. ( )
1 vote Tara_Calaby | Jun 22, 2020 |
Amazing.

I'm utterly flabbergasted by how good this is. Forty years before The Canterbury Tales took England by storm, a little tiny place called Italy was having a full-blown RENAISSANCE. So why the hell have I been avoiding all these fantastic pieces of art, anyway? Because they're in Italian? For SHAME.

Fortunately, this translation is fantastic... and you know what? It really holds up. It has everything a public who wants to be entertained could ever desire. A hundred short stories framed by nobles hiding out while the Black Plague ravages Europe, eating, frolicking, and telling stories every night for ten nights.

Do you think a quarantine is a recipe for depression and disaster? Muahahahahaha NO. Let's just put it this way... there's more sex, laughter, trickery, sex, adultery, sex, theft, cons, sex, and hilarious situations in these stories than you'd find in the entire works of Shakespeare. And let's put this in perspective... Chaucer and Shakespeare stole a TON of s**t from Boccaccio. All of it funny and light and clever and wickedly perverse.

I always knew that literature, in general, is an incestuous lot, but between these many classic tales of spouses pulling fast ones on each other or selfless tales of true love or steadfastness or tales of corruption, greed, and confidence games, I'm tempted to just throw in the hat and say this guy has it ALL.

I know it ain't true. I've read enough Italians from more than a millennia prior to put paid to that idea. But STILL. This is entertaining as hell. And I thought Chaucer was a RIOT, too.

It just goes to show... never judge a book by its cover. You might be losing out on some GREAT comedy. ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
2 v. ( )
  ME_Dictionary | Mar 19, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
magnifico! il terzo autore più grande nella trittica: Dante, Petrarca, Boccaccio...che dire è colui che ho evoluto le novelli, generato romanzi, analizzato e intuito i sucessivi 500/600 anni.
Geoffrey Chaucer ha copiato da boccaccio! altro che letteratura inglese!
Geoffrey Chaucer is a copy of the Great Boccaccio!
the England is china?
added by sshnn | editMilano, ss (Dec 2, 2012)
 

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 (124 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Boccaccio, Giovanniprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aldington, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Alfano, GiancarloEditorsecondary 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
Denissen, FransTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fanfani, PietroEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fiorilla, MaurizioEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hokkanen, VilhoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hutton, EdwardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kelfkens, C. J.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kredel, FritzIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lahti, IlmariTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Macchi, RuthTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Macchi, V.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Massó Torrents, JaumeEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McWilliam, G. H.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Musa, MarkTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mussafia, AdolfoContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Narro, JoséIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Payne, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Quondam, AmedeoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raleigh, Walter AlexanderIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rebhorn, Wayne A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rossi, AldoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sandfort, J.A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schlegel, August Wilhelm vonContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vallverdú, FrancescTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vosseler, MartinContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winwar, FrancesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Witte, KarlContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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1573 ( [1527])
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Es beginnt das Buch Dekameron, auch Principe Galeotto genannt, mit seinen hundert Geschichten, die in zehn Tagen von sieben Damen und drei jungen Männern erzählt werden.
Dedication
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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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Revised for the seven hundredth anniversary of the author's birth, this tale of medieval Italian life details how ten young Florentines retreat to the countryside to escape the plague-infested city and entertain themselves by telling stories.

No library descriptions found.

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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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