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Decameron (novelle scelte) (Audio-eBook)

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Giovanni Boccaccio può essere considerato, insieme con Dante e Petrarca, il più importante autore del XIV secolo, sia in Italia che in tutta Europa. Boccaccio si distingue però dagli altri due per il suo stile centrato su tematiche terrene e per il suo relativo disinteresse per le problematiche morali, religiose, teologiche e politiche. Il Decameron è la più importante ope Giovanni Boccaccio può essere considerato, insieme con Dante e Petrarca, il più importante autore del XIV secolo, sia in Italia che in tutta Europa. Boccaccio si distingue però dagli altri due per il suo stile centrato su tematiche terrene e per il suo relativo disinteresse per le problematiche morali, religiose, teologiche e politiche. Il Decameron è la più importante opera di questo autore: si tratta di una raccolta di cento novelle collegate in una trama narrativa generale. L'interpretazione in voce di sei tra le novelle più conosciute restituirà all'ascoltatore la suggestiva immagine del mondo, vivace e dalle mille sfaccettature, descritto dall'autore. Un Audio-eBook importante per la didattica e per tutti coloro che desiderano conoscere meglio la lingua del 'Bel Paese dove 'l sì suona' (Dante). La lettura è affidata a Moro Silo. Questo Audio-eBook è in formato EPUB 3. Un Audio-eBook contiene sia l'audio che il testo e quindi permette di leggere, di ascoltare e di leggere+ascoltare in sincronia. Può essere letto e ascoltato su eReader, tablet, smartphone e PC. Per i requisiti tecnici e una guida alla fruizione potete consultare la GUIDA ALL'AUDIO-EBOOK per utilizzare al meglio questo prodotto. http://support.ultimabooks.it/knowled...


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Giovanni Boccaccio può essere considerato, insieme con Dante e Petrarca, il più importante autore del XIV secolo, sia in Italia che in tutta Europa. Boccaccio si distingue però dagli altri due per il suo stile centrato su tematiche terrene e per il suo relativo disinteresse per le problematiche morali, religiose, teologiche e politiche. Il Decameron è la più importante ope Giovanni Boccaccio può essere considerato, insieme con Dante e Petrarca, il più importante autore del XIV secolo, sia in Italia che in tutta Europa. Boccaccio si distingue però dagli altri due per il suo stile centrato su tematiche terrene e per il suo relativo disinteresse per le problematiche morali, religiose, teologiche e politiche. Il Decameron è la più importante opera di questo autore: si tratta di una raccolta di cento novelle collegate in una trama narrativa generale. L'interpretazione in voce di sei tra le novelle più conosciute restituirà all'ascoltatore la suggestiva immagine del mondo, vivace e dalle mille sfaccettature, descritto dall'autore. Un Audio-eBook importante per la didattica e per tutti coloro che desiderano conoscere meglio la lingua del 'Bel Paese dove 'l sì suona' (Dante). La lettura è affidata a Moro Silo. Questo Audio-eBook è in formato EPUB 3. Un Audio-eBook contiene sia l'audio che il testo e quindi permette di leggere, di ascoltare e di leggere+ascoltare in sincronia. Può essere letto e ascoltato su eReader, tablet, smartphone e PC. Per i requisiti tecnici e una guida alla fruizione potete consultare la GUIDA ALL'AUDIO-EBOOK per utilizzare al meglio questo prodotto. http://support.ultimabooks.it/knowled...

30 review for Decameron (novelle scelte) (Audio-eBook)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Il Decamerone = The Decameron, Giovanni Boccacccio The Decameron is a collection of novellas by the 14th-century Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio (1313–1375). The book is structured as a frame story containing 100 tales told by a group of seven young women and three young men sheltering in a secluded villa just outside Florence to escape the Black Death, which was afflicting the city. Boccaccio probably conceived of The Decameron after the epidemic of 1348, and completed it by 1353. The various Il Decamerone = The Decameron, Giovanni Boccacccio The Decameron is a collection of novellas by the 14th-century Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio (1313–1375). The book is structured as a frame story containing 100 tales told by a group of seven young women and three young men sheltering in a secluded villa just outside Florence to escape the Black Death, which was afflicting the city. Boccaccio probably conceived of The Decameron after the epidemic of 1348, and completed it by 1353. The various tales of love in The Decameron range from the erotic to the tragic. Tales of wit, practical jokes, and life lessons contribute to the mosaic. In addition to its literary value and widespread influence (for example on Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales), it provides a document of life at the time. Written in the vernacular of the Florentine language, it is considered a masterpiece of classical early Italian prose. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هشتم ماه فوریه سال 2018 عنوان: دکامرون ؛ نویسنده: جووانی بوکاچیو؛ مترجم: احمدخان دریابیگی؛ بوشهر، ؟، 1282؛ عنوان: دکامرون - حاوی یکصد حکایت فرح انگیز؛ نویسنده: جووانی بوکاچیو؛ مترجم: حبیب شنوقی؛ تهران، گوتنبرگ، 1338، در دو جلد؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ایتالیایی - سد 14 م عنوان: دکامرون - حاوی یکصد حکایت فرح انگیز؛ نویسنده: جووانی بوکاچیو؛ مترجم: محمد قاضی؛ تهران، مازیار، 1379، در 876 ص؛ چاپ دوم 1393؛ شابک: 9789645676108؛ دکامرون، مشهورترین اثر: «جووانی بوکاچیو»، نویسنده ی سده ی چهاردهم میلادی کشور ایتالیاست، که دارای یکصد داستان کوتاه است. «بوکاچیو» این کتاب را، به سبک هزار و یک شب نگاشته است، و مواد خام قصه‌ ها را، از افسانه‌ های: «یونانی»، «رومی»، و دیگر کشورهای مشرق زمین، و گاه، از زندگی روزمره ی مردمان، وام گرفته‌ است. ایشان این کتاب را، بلافاصله پس از شیوع طاعون سال 1348 میلادی، در «فلورانس» نوشتند. چارچوب راویان اصلی «دکامرون» را، هفت زن، و سه مرد، تشکیل می‌دهند، که برای گریز از بلای طاعون، «فلورانس» را ترک کرده، به خانه‌ های ییلاقی اطراف شهر، پناه می‌برند؛ و در آنجا، برای اینکه ذهن خود را، از آن رخداد دور کنند، به قصه‌ گوئی برای یکدیگر می‌پردازند؛ و چون خـُلق و خوی داستان‌گویان متفاوت است، داستان‌ها دارای گیرائی، و تنوع بسیار است. نویسنده ی آشنا به روح بشری، و اشخاص داستان، و قهرمان‌های آن زنده، و پر از شور زندگی، و جانوران داستان‌های «دکامرون» نیز چنین هستند. این کتاب بعدها در ادبیات برخی کشورها، از جمله در انگلستان، مورد اقتباس و تقلید قرار گرفت. بسیاری از نویسندگان، از جمله « ویلیام شکسپیر»، از قصه‌ های آن، برای نوشتن نمایشنامه‌ های خود، سود بردند. نخستین برگردان فارسی «دکامرون»، در دوره ی «ناصر‌الدین‌ شاه قاجار» بود، که «احمدخان دریابیگی» در فاصله ی سالهای 1280 هجری خورشیدی تا سال 1282 هجری خورشیدی، نخست در روزنامه ی: «مظفری بوشهر»، و سپس به صورت چاپ سنگی، و در قطع بزرگ آن را به سال 1282 هجری خورشیدی، چاپ کردند. برگردان دوم، توسط: «حبیب شنوقی» در دو جلد و در یک مجلد، در سال 1338 هجری خورشیدی منتشر شد، و سرانجام ترجمه سوم، که ترجمه ای دقیق و کامل است، توسط زنده‌ یاد: «محمد قاضی»؛ در سال 1379 هجری خورشیدی، در انتشارات مازیار منتشر شد. البته منتخبی از داستانهای دکامرون را نیز، بانو: «طاهره بدیعی» در 70 ص، در سال 1381 منتشر کرده است. عنوان کتاب یعنی: «دکامرون»، از دو واژه ی یونانی «ده»، و «روز»، گرفته شده است. ساختار دکامرون، در سال 1351 میلادی (و یا به روایتی به سال 1353 میلادی) به پایان رسیده است. کتاب با شرحی از وبا (مرگ سیاه) آغاز، و به معرفی «هفت زن» و «سه مرد جوان» میرسد، که از «فلورانس» وبا زده، به دهاتی در حواشی «فیسل»، برای دو هفته، فرار میکنند. برای گذشت زمان، هر شب، همه ی اعضا، هر کدام، داستانی را تعریف میکند. اگرچه چهارده روز میگذرد، دو روز در هر هفته، برای کارهای دیگر اختصاص مییابند: یک روز برای وظایف، و یک روز مقدس، که هیچ کس در آنروز هیچ کاری نمی‌کند. بدینسان در پایان ده روز، صد داستان بازگو میشود. هرکدام از شخصیتها به نوبت به عنوان: «شاه»، و یا «ملکه»، برای یکی از آن ده روز، برگزیده میشوند. وظیفه (شاه و یا ملکه)، شامل: انتخاب موضوع داستان، برای آنروز میباشد، و موضوعات همه ی روزها، به استثنای دو روز، معین میگردند: «قدرت دارایی»، «قدرت خواست آدمی»، «داستانها ی عاشقانه که غم انگیز به پایان میرسند»، «داستانهای عاشقانه که پایانی خوش دارند»، «پاسخهای هوشمندانه ای که جان یک سخنگو را حفظ میکنند»، «حقه هایی که زنان به مردان میزنند»، «حقه هایی که مردم بطور عام به هم میزنند»، و «داستانهایی از عفت و پاکدامنی». تنها «دایو نیو» که هر روز داستان دهم را میگوید، به خاطر ذکاوتی که دارد، حق آنرا دارد، که هر داستانی را که میخواهد تعریف کند. نویسنده های بسیاری، میاندیشند که: «دایو نیو»، نقطه نظرات خود «بوگاچیو» را بیان میکند. هر روز، علاوه بر روایت شامل یک مقدمه و نتیجه مختصر نیز هستند، تا قالب داستانها، به غیر از داستانگویی، و از راه توضیح فعالیتهای روزانه نیز، ادامه یابد. این فاصله ی میان پرده ای، شامل آوازهای محلی (فولکور) ایتالیایی ست. رابطه ی بین داستانهای یکروز، با روزهای دیگر، آنگونه که «بوگاچیو»، رخدادهای پیشین را بهم میتند، یک کلیت را تشکیل میدهند. موضوع پایه ای داستانها: «به ریشخند گرفتن شهوت و طمع کشیشها»، «تنش بین طبقه ی ثروتمند تاجرها و خانواده های اشرافی»، و «خطرات و ماجراجوییهای بازرگانان در سفرهای تجاری» هستند. ا. شربیانی

  2. 4 out of 5

    Florencia

    After a couple of years, two attempts and two different editions, I have finally finished this book. The first great literary accomplishment of 2016. All I can say is that the history of humanity lies on every page of this book. Virtues and defects that have illuminated and darkened human existence were eloquently expressed by Boccaccio's brilliant pen that concocted, with mastery and otherworldly wit, one hundred tales told by seven young ladies and three young men who, to contextualize this fin After a couple of years, two attempts and two different editions, I have finally finished this book. The first great literary accomplishment of 2016. All I can say is that the history of humanity lies on every page of this book. Virtues and defects that have illuminated and darkened human existence were eloquently expressed by Boccaccio's brilliant pen that concocted, with mastery and otherworldly wit, one hundred tales told by seven young ladies and three young men who, to contextualize this fine collection, fled the magnificent city of Florence (a place I adore and with which I have a bond that goes beyond the origin of my name and ancestry), trying to escape from the Black Death. These stories are mostly about the connections between intelligence and fortune and how the sort of picaresque characters manage to achieve success. Often involving eroticism (Boccaccio must have been the E.L. James of his time but, you know, with writing skills), these tales accentuate the distance from medieval ideals, focusing on the actual human being. Anyway, I started reading this collection in 2013 and failed miserably. Statistics 06/25/2013 marked as: currently-reading 09/22/2013 page 590 64.0% 01/02/2014 marked as: will-i-ever-finish-it 12/10/2015 marked as: started reading from page 1, clandestinely 12/20/2015 marked as: currently-reading, officially 02/13/2016 marked as: finished But, as you see, this year I made it. It ended up being a rather special read for me, since I happen to have a photo of a loyal companion sitting by my side, a devoted witness of my struggle with his beautiful amber eyes on me, which I can only visualize now. (view spoiler)[Hey, he's not dead! He's just not with me anymore. (hide spoiler)] A lovely memory is now attached to this wonderful book. May 9, 16 * Also on my blog. ** Photo credit: Charlie and book / me.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Renato Magalhães Rocha

    In the 14th century in Europe, during the devastating times of the Black Death, a group of young Florentines - seven women and three men - decide to flee to seek shelter and escape from the plague in a villa outside of the city of Florence. This is the basic frame used by Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio to tell us one hundred tales of life, love and fortune with The Decameron. After leaving the city, in order to pass the time, an idea of telling stories is brought up and each one of the young g In the 14th century in Europe, during the devastating times of the Black Death, a group of young Florentines - seven women and three men - decide to flee to seek shelter and escape from the plague in a villa outside of the city of Florence. This is the basic frame used by Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio to tell us one hundred tales of life, love and fortune with The Decameron. After leaving the city, in order to pass the time, an idea of telling stories is brought up and each one of the young group - Pampinea, Fiammetta, Filomena, Emilia, Lauretta, Neifile, Elissa, Panfilo, Filostrato and Dioneo - must tell one story per day. Starting on the second day, Filomena, who was appointed as the queen of the day - they all took turns into being the queen or king - decided that the stories to be told in each day should all pertain to a theme previously chosen by the one in charge. The only exception to that rule is Dioneo, who asked to have the privilege to be the last one to tell his tale each day and to be freed of the requirement of complying to the day's theme. It's been argued that Dioneo served as a way for Boccaccio to express his own views through his stories. I had a lot of pleasant days in the company of the young Florentines, such as the eighth day, where Lauretta chose as a theme stories of tricks women play on men or that men play on women which, of course, is packed with hilarious stories and clever stratagems; or the last day, when Panfilo asked that tales about deeds of generosity be told. I wonder if Boccaccio intended to leave a hopeful message to his readers after many cases of betrayals and misfortunes. But two days were more enjoyable than others: THIRD DAY As the queen of the day, Neifile ruled that stories where a person has painfully acquired something or has lost it and then regained it should be told for everyone's amusement. In that day, Panfilo narrates a very funny tale (the fourth one) of Dom Felice who, desiring to spend some 'quality time' with Friar Puccio's wife, tells her husband that he should do a penance to gain blessedness. Let's just say that Dom Felice should do a lot of penance after that tale... Other two stories from that early day remained as some of my favorites: FIRST TALE Filostrato tells the story of Masetto da Lamporecchio, a young and handsome man who, deciding to pass as being mute, finds work in a convent of women as a gardener after hearing the old one is no longer there. While working, he is noticed by two of the nuns who, curious to find out what's the sensation of being with a man, decide to lie with him. As word spreads out, Masetto finds himself working very long extra hours. "'Alack!' rejoined the other, 'what is this thou sayest? Knowest thou not that we have promised our virginity to God?' 'Oh, as for that,' answered the first, 'how many things are promised Him all day long, whereof not one is fulfilled unto Him! An we have promised it Him, let Him find Himself another or others to perform it to Him.'" Boccaccio once again writes an humorous tale packed with religious satire and catholic church criticism. Even the abbess, from whom you'd expect better discernment and leadership towards what's rightful, can't help but to share of Masetto's services. TENTH TALE Dioneo tells the tale of a beautiful and young girl named Alibech who, not being religious but hearing many Christians talking about faith and serving God, wished to find out what it was all about. After hearing their response and wandering into the desert in an attempt to become closer to God, she finally meets a monk named Rustico that, tempted by her looks, decided to teach her how to "put the devil back into hell". "Whereupon Rustico, seeing her so fair, felt an accession of desire, and therewith came an insurgence of the flesh, which Alibech marking with surprise, said: 'Rustico, what is this, which I see thee have, that so protrudes, and which I have not?' 'Oh! my daughter,' said Rustico, ''tis the Devil of whom I have told thee: and, seest thou? he is now tormenting me most grievously, insomuch that I am scarce able to hold out.'" This tale was so "graphic" that in John Payne's translation of The Decameron he decided to include Boccaccio's original words instead of translating them, stating that it was "...impossible to render the technicalities of that mysterious art into tolerable English..." FOURTH DAY On the fourth day, Filostrato, who was appointed re del giorno, demanded his friends to tell stories of lovers whose relationship ended in disaster. Fiammetta narrates the first tale of the day, telling the story of Tancredi who, after slaying his daughter Ghismonda's lover, sends her his heart in a golden cup. She, then, decides to fill the cup with poison, drinks it and dies. Among other tragic stories, my favorite is the one that follows: FIFTH TALE Filomena tells the sad story of Lisabetta who has her lover Lorenzo murdered by her brothers. In a dream, he tells her where they buried his body and she decides to take his head and to set it in a pot of basil, whereon she daily weeps a great while. "...nor did she ever water these with other water than that of her tears or rose or orange-flower water." ----------------- Boccaccio's language and wit in writing here is similar to Cervantes in Don Quixote, as he was able to write about violence, sex or even scatological humor, for example, successfully turning those themes into very light reads, making the episodes funny and enjoyable without shocking his readers. Not that he seemed to be in any way afraid of being offensive and raising some eyebrows: his tales about clergyman being deceitful - or "hypocrites", to borrow one of the adjectives he employed in one of the narratives - or nuns having sex seem to be a direct criticism and a mockery to their status as holy people. One of the aspects that really amused me was the role of women in his work. Boccaccio directly spoke to the "gracious ladies" with the words below in the first day, defining them as the main audience to his book. "As often, most gracious ladies, as, taking thought in myself, I mind me how very pitiful you are all by nature, so often do I recognize that this present work will, to your thinking, have a grievous and a weariful beginning, inasmuch as the dolorous remembrance of the late pestiferous mortality, which it beareth on its forefront, is universally irksome to all who saw or otherwise knew it." On the fourth day, once again, he addressed the ladies by writing about having been criticized for liking the ladies too much and thinking solely of pleasuring them with his tales: "There are then, discreet ladies, some who, reading these stories, have said that you please me overmuch and that it is not a seemly thing that I should take so much delight in pleasuring and solacing you; and some have said yet worse of commending you as I do." Setting the discussion aside of why he would include that odd defense (it seems he was being defensive without having been actually attacked?) on Decamerone, I was amazed by the extensive portraits Boccaccio painted of women: they were cunning, sad, some were cheaters, others were passionate, subjugated and the roles go on. For living in a time where men loved - and idolized, and described women as being the most beautiful things to have ever walked on the earth - women so much, constantly elevating them to goddesses status, it seems that Boccaccio masterfully wrote an array of human-like characters with great range of emotions. Film adaptation: there's been many adaptations, but I've only watched one: 1971's Il Decameron by Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini. Who would be better than the ever so controversial filmmaker to add extra layers of mockery, satire and erotica to Boccaccio's already teasing tales? The director nicely connected nine of the stories through the fifth tale of the sixth day where Pasolini played the painter Giotto. This film is in no way necessary to complement the book, but it was a great one hour and a half of pure fun! Rating: Boccaccio's work proved to be a fine companion as I often read his stories on my commute to work and found myself giggling all the time. I can see myself re-reading some tales from time to time, like you would with a daily reflections book. For that, 4 stars.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    The Decameron is a set of one hundred stories told to each other by a group of ten people, seven women and three men, over ten days. All these stories exist within one story which is about this group of people who come together in Florence during an outbreak of the plague and how they react to it - which is by going off into the surrounding countryside and recreating a kind of temporary Eden outside the ravages of the times. Beyond that there are the author's intentions and his defence of his wo The Decameron is a set of one hundred stories told to each other by a group of ten people, seven women and three men, over ten days. All these stories exist within one story which is about this group of people who come together in Florence during an outbreak of the plague and how they react to it - which is by going off into the surrounding countryside and recreating a kind of temporary Eden outside the ravages of the times. Beyond that there are the author's intentions and his defence of his work, which are a further frame to the whole work. Boccaccio sees stories as a form of education - in this case to teach his reader, which he largely assumed to be women since references to potential male readers are rare, about love. Love is a vague word in English, you can love to have tea with your chips, you might love your dog, or the colour yellow on a bedroom door. None of those feature in the Decameron, love here is of the sexual or occasionally of the romantic kind. The new society of the ten people is based on affinity and trust. They live in common, although apparently using the estates of other people, and they benefit from the labour of servants so this is socially exclusive, unlike The Canterbury Tales in which people come from a mix of social backgrounds. The new society is time bound and intended from the first, like reading itself, to be a temporary respite from events. They have a monarch to rule each day, but each of the ten in turn gets one day to rule One of the advantages of taking part in a group read - like our one of the Decameron - is benefiting from the contributions that all the other readers make. ReemK10 pointed out that that there is a wealth of meaning in the character names and in the complex of numbers (three men and seven women, the importance of ten and so on) but as a reader all of that largely passed me over. The only character who really stood out for me was Dioneo, and not because he was Dionysian but because he got to tell the last story of everyday. This at last was a reference point - everything else was in flux for me. I felt at one moment that Panfilo was an author stand in, but that moment passed and life returned to normal. In other words the Decameron has intricate foundations but they don't interfere with the appearance of the building. For the reader there are simply one hundred stories, divided into ten days set in a framing narrative with some linking text. The stories give an impression of the world view of leisured middle to upper class urban people (socially below the nobility but of high enough status and wealth to be able to look down on people who are overly concerned with business) of mid-fourteenth century north Italy. The geographical scope ranges over the entire Mediterranean, with a couple of stories set in France and England (England is as exotic here as Saladin, a fantasy destination where dreams can become true) there are no stories set in China or other far eastern locations despite The Travels of Marco Polo. The Merchant of Prato gives an idea of just how natural and everyday that geographical scope was to those involved in commerce in Italy at that time. The stories are set throughout history, some in antiquity, others in the recent past, many are roughly contemporary to Boccaccio's time. Boccaccio may not have invented any of the stories. Many are recognisable retellings, and some will in turn be retold by Chaucer in The Canterbury Tales, others like the horrible Griselda story seem to have been widely known at the time and pop up in a variety of sources as a role model for a good woman (see for instance Le Menagier de Paris. In The Canterbury Tales Chaucer reuses and adapts a few stories from Decameron and takes Boccaccio's idea of a framing narrative however he makes an important change. Chaucer's storytellers cover a fairly broad social spectrum (view spoiler)[albeit with a southern English bias (hide spoiler)] , Boccaccio's reflect one view point that of Florentine urban Patrician families. They own landed estates, but don't have aristocratic titles (view spoiler)[ at least not yet, they are probably the kinds of people who with judicious marriages or helpful 'gifts' to the right persons might reasonably hope to acquire one in time (hide spoiler)] , they admire aristocratic values and although their family wealth probably comes from trade and commerce, too pronounced an interest in business is felt to be improper. Being chaste, or more to the point being seen to be chaste, is an important attribute for the women of this class and governs how they are perceived in society. Therefore the ability to conduct extramarital relationships with discretion is lionised. Oddly although their own reputation is important, persuading a servant to have sexual relations with an over eager suitor or to receive a beating in place of the heroine in exchange for a gift such a suit of clothes is seen as laudable, even by a bishop. Morality is a social attribute, what is appropriate depends on the social position of the person, rather than an absolute set of values that is immutable throughout the whole of society (view spoiler)[ and that society is strange to modern eyes, within the stories Sicily and southern Italy are seen as different to northern Italy which is however seen as similar to France, or maybe this is not such an unusual viewpoint after all! (hide spoiler)] Having said that women of a low social class can be exemplary - pre-eminently Griselda, and can have some concern for their virtue, equally the poor (broadly speaking) can be dismissed as simple minded and herd like, ripe to be fooled by any passing quick witted Friar who is prepared to claim that a parrot's feather, in fact, came from an angel's wing. It is difficult, and without doubt very unwise, to do what I am doing and attempt to generalise about one hundred stories told by ten narrators as there always seem to be exceptions and nuances of opinion from one story to the next. Perhaps if read with paper to hand and a pencil behind the ear, setting out in columns the attitudes revealed in each story, patterns might emerge consistent to particular narrators, or maybe that each day had a particular tone. But all of this is perhaps besides the point, this is a compendium of stories. Few if any would have been original to Boccaccio, many have deep roots and have been endlessly retold. What he has done is collect, adapt and present them within the frame work of this group of seven young women and three men moving between various estates, not many miles outside Florence, over a period of a few days while the plague runs it's course within the city. The stories are lively, often funny, and vivid. They feature lecherous men (particularly priests and friars), cunning plans and generally the victory of the witty. Love and Fortune are capitalised and at times appear to be forces in their own right in the universe alongside God (view spoiler)[ like the plague they sweep through society without regard to status or duty (hide spoiler)] and one law of nature seems to be that one woman can keep a man happy but it takes many men to please one woman. This, given the social importance for a woman of appearing chaste, provides drama and humour in many of the tales. Some of the stories have a savage twist (view spoiler)[ not all of which were comfortable reading (hide spoiler)] , not always condemned by narrator or his in book audience, a few see a man getting the woman he wants despite her lack of interest, some marriages are between partners of unequal ages, which doesn't seem to have been particularly unusual for the times, and this can be a narrative driver for the pursuit of extra-marital pleasures. The idea of marriage as a romantic union between two people is a rather unusual one if one takes a broad view of it. Marriage in Boccaccio in common with most of human history is a business like affair, for love to develop in it (or despite it) takes particular skill and the triumph of the witty over the wilful (view spoiler)[ some reminded me of the kind of folktales in which the main character has to complete seemingly impossible tasks (hide spoiler)] . So overall what can be concluded about the Decameron? Perhaps nothing other than that people have to read it for themselves and that it may not be the medieval Europe that you expected to find.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    “Nothing is so indecent that it cannot be said to another person if the proper words are used to convey it.” ― Giovanni Boccaccio, The Decameron Like The Canterbury Tales, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, The Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights, etc., "The Decameron" is an early masterpiece of literature. It is one of those books I avoided because I thought it would be stilted and boring. Hells NASTY Bells was I wrong. Boccaccio is funny, flippant, irreverent, “Nothing is so indecent that it cannot be said to another person if the proper words are used to convey it.” ― Giovanni Boccaccio, The Decameron Like The Canterbury Tales, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, The Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights, etc., "The Decameron" is an early masterpiece of literature. It is one of those books I avoided because I thought it would be stilted and boring. Hells NASTY Bells was I wrong. Boccaccio is funny, flippant, irreverent, libidinous, provocative, inspiring, insulting, crazy and always -- always entertaining. 100 stories told during the the summer of 1348 as the Black Death is ravaging Florence (and Europe). Ten aristocratic youths take to the country to escape the death, stink and bodies of the City and to hang out and amuse themselves on stories of love and adventure and sex and trickery. Bad priests, evil princes, saints, sinners, and various twists and turns paints a detailed picture of Italy from over 660 years ago that seems just as modern and funky as today. Things have certainly changed, but lords and ladies it is incredible just how many things have stayed the same.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    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 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.

  7. 4 out of 5

    MJ Nicholls

    Permit me to offer another roar of support for reading (The) Decameron. A divine mathematical structure (ten parts of ten chapters with ten characters told over ten days) props up this rollicking ride of classic storytelling. A modern translation (this ed from J.G. Nichols) renders the original in all its libidinous, virtuous mischief, making each page a rapturous pleasure to turn. This book needs no further endorsement from me. Make arrangements to read (The) Decameron before your fatal heart a Permit me to offer another roar of support for reading (The) Decameron. A divine mathematical structure (ten parts of ten chapters with ten characters told over ten days) props up this rollicking ride of classic storytelling. A modern translation (this ed from J.G. Nichols) renders the original in all its libidinous, virtuous mischief, making each page a rapturous pleasure to turn. This book needs no further endorsement from me. Make arrangements to read (The) Decameron before your fatal heart attack.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    The Decameron is obviously a hugely influential piece of literature (actually, it's just plain huge), so it's no wonder I'd get around to it eventually. I'm not a huge fan of Chaucer, really, but I did recognise a couple of the source texts he used in this, and I imagine that the choice of frame narrative for the Canterbury Tales might've been suggested to Chaucer by The Decameron. Certainly The Decameron was an influence, anyway. The Decameron also inspired a song by one of my favourite singers, The Decameron is obviously a hugely influential piece of literature (actually, it's just plain huge), so it's no wonder I'd get around to it eventually. I'm not a huge fan of Chaucer, really, but I did recognise a couple of the source texts he used in this, and I imagine that the choice of frame narrative for the Canterbury Tales might've been suggested to Chaucer by The Decameron. Certainly The Decameron was an influence, anyway. The Decameron also inspired a song by one of my favourite singers, Heather Dale, 'Up Into The Pear Tree', about Pyrrhus and Lydia and their trick on Lydia's husband. It's a lovely song, playful and quite in keeping with the tone of The Decameron. Despite its length, The Decameron is very easy to read. It's a collection of a hundred short stories -- or perhaps a hundred and one, if you count the frame story -- split into ten 'days' with the conceit that a group of ten young men and women meet outside Florence during the plague years, and to entertain themselves, they elect a king or queen from their number each day, who dictates a theme for the stories that they tell. The stories are quite similar at times, when they revolve around a specific theme, but overall there's a lot of different stories, often funny, and often to do with sex. You get the impression that no women in medieval Italy (with the exception of Griselda and Zinevra) were ever faithful to their husbands! Being a medieval work, it's unsurprisingly not terribly good about subjects like rape or feminine strength. Sometimes it praises women to the skies and at other times blames them for what isn't their fault, or what certainly isn't a fault in all women. Still, it didn't make me uncomfortable most of the time, and there are plenty of clever and strong women in the tales as well. The Penguin translation, by G.H. McWilliam, is extremely good, in the sense of always being very readable and entertaining, rather than dry, and this edition comes with a wealth of notes on context and on each specific story. There are maps and an index, too. Even if you're not reading this for study, it's worth getting -- perhaps especially so, because it explains things clearly no matter what your level of expertise on the subject.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Emm

    My encounter with this book has been a delightful surprise. Expecting a dry and difficult medieval text, I was shocked to find myself unable to put it down. This is a completely rich text that is complex, yet easy and fun to read. Boccaccio has such a fun sense of humor! I found myself laughing aloud. For me, the dirty stories stole the show, but the other stories by no means fall short. His characters and stories are so richly human and he is able to laugh at them, embrace their flaws, forgive My encounter with this book has been a delightful surprise. Expecting a dry and difficult medieval text, I was shocked to find myself unable to put it down. This is a completely rich text that is complex, yet easy and fun to read. Boccaccio has such a fun sense of humor! I found myself laughing aloud. For me, the dirty stories stole the show, but the other stories by no means fall short. His characters and stories are so richly human and he is able to laugh at them, embrace their flaws, forgive them their hypocrisies. It's too bad we all can't view the world with Boccaccio's humor and sense of reason. As a side note, his description of societal breakdown prompted by the plague is really interesting. I had the simple, but impressive realization that I was reading the actual first hand observations of someone who had lived through THE Plague. It's crazy- and so cool! Admittedly, I know there is a lot of critical study around this text that I am missing and things that I have failed to recognize, but Boccaccio's brilliance lies in the fact that he is able to create a work that is valid and entertaining. It's the perfect combination of study and pleasure. I would re-read this in a heartbeat. I recommend it, especially if you doubt that you will like it. (You will.)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    … nothing is so indecent that it cannot be said to another person if the proper words are used to convey it… I did not think that a collection of tales from the late Middle Ages would be so raunchy and ribald. While artisans were busy erecting gothic cathedrals—symbols of humanity’s insignificance before an omnipotent deity—Boccaccio was busy writing this most human of books. Indeed, the Decameron can be seen as the humanistic reply to Dante’s Divine Comedy: a celebration of our very worldlines … nothing is so indecent that it cannot be said to another person if the proper words are used to convey it… I did not think that a collection of tales from the late Middle Ages would be so raunchy and ribald. While artisans were busy erecting gothic cathedrals—symbols of humanity’s insignificance before an omnipotent deity—Boccaccio was busy writing this most human of books. Indeed, the Decameron can be seen as the humanistic reply to Dante’s Divine Comedy: a celebration of our very worldliness. In Boccaccio’s world, the keystone virtue is not holiness nor piety, but cunning; and those who lack it are sure to be the victims of those who possess it. Seen from the present day, Boccaccio’s masterpiece seems progressive in many respects. For one, he treats of nobles and peasants indifferently; and in the final (and incredibly sadistic) story he even asserts that these distinctions are of no importance compared with personal merit. More shocking is Boccaccio’s frank portrayal of female sexuality, something that would be taboo for much of European history. At times Boccaccio even seems like a proto-feminist: Women are central to the book, as Boccaccio frames the collection of stories as a diversion for women who have been forced into idleness by their social position. To be sure, there are many regressive and even alarming views about women mixed in with his more “advanced” ideas; even so, he does a better job than, say, Dickens often does. Another surprising feature of these stories is Boccaccio’s open anticlericalism. The way he speaks of monks and nuns would be scandalous even now. There are many moments in the book in which he seems to be advocating a kind of hippy-ish tolerance for the pleasures of the flesh, condemning all opponents to sensual delight as hypocrites and fools. He even portrays homosexuality as an amusing foible rather than a deadly sin. Considering all this, it is difficult to imagine the reaction if it had been published considerably later. It seems that tolerance does not progress in a neat line. Boccaccio’s chief virtue as a storyteller is his ability to manipulate plot. In this he is the exact reflection of Shakespeare (one of Boccaccio’s borrowers), who had every gift except plot. Boccaccio’s characters are never round nor indeed memorable; they can for the most part be interchanged at random. But each of these 100 tales, with very few exceptions, is thoroughly charming for having all the elements of a good story: a setup (inevitably involving a man and a woman), a problem (normally somebody trying to sleep with someone else), a clever trick to solve it (and a dunce to suffer as a consequence), a dramatic climax (the heroes are almost foiled), and a satisfying conclusion. All together, these 100 stories are a treasure trove which every responsible storyteller must pilfer mercilessly. If you are going on a camping trip, you could do much worse than to bring a copy of the Decameron along for the evenings.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    In Florence, in 1350, Giovanni Boccaccio writes the Decameron, a collection of 100 stories told ostensibly by a group of noblemen and women hiding in the countryside from the Black Plague, the effects of which are described at the beginning of the Decameron in one of the world’s most horrifying pieces of journalism. The stories themselves are generally bawdy and funny, and in fact this was made into a porno in 1970, and here are some butts to prove it: butts It was influenced in part by the brilli In Florence, in 1350, Giovanni Boccaccio writes the Decameron, a collection of 100 stories told ostensibly by a group of noblemen and women hiding in the countryside from the Black Plague, the effects of which are described at the beginning of the Decameron in one of the world’s most horrifying pieces of journalism. The stories themselves are generally bawdy and funny, and in fact this was made into a porno in 1970, and here are some butts to prove it: butts It was influenced in part by the brilliant collection of Middle Eastern tales, the Arabian Nights. It was a big hit in its time; it was probably read by Chaucer, who probably borrowed parts of it for his great epic The Canterbury Tales. I've read a bunch of non-fiction books recently that at least touch on Italy in the 14th century, and I keep thinking, "Yeah, I understand this from Boccaccio." Corruption in the church, the role of women, the lives of the nobles and the common people... I get a better sense of these things from the Decameron than from the history books. So if Boccaccio's goal was to describe what life was like in his time, from every imaginable point of view, he has nailed it. Some are bawdy and funny, yes, but there are also a number stories about violence and rape. Like II.7, for example, in which a woman is kidnapped and raped by eight different men in succession, and they're often played as sorta funny and I haven't been sure how to deal with that, but it's true that Boccaccio's exposing the darker things that were happening in his time - along with all the other things. It's an unflinching tour, but it's misted by this irreverent tone that throws you off balance. The intro to this edition claimed that Boccaccio was in some ways a sort of feminist, because his female characters are as strong and willful as his male ones, and this is one of the first times we have female characters portrayed as enjoying sex. I see the point, but it's also true that they're handed around like paperbacks pretty often. I've been reminded recently how grotesquely hateful the last story in this collection is, and I feel like it's a public service to warn potential future readers about it: it leaves a very bad taste in your mouth. Horrifically misogynist. Skip it - or at least read it out of order, somewhere around the middle, so it's not your last impression. Apparently Boccaccio himself wasn't crazy about the Decameron, but I think it's pretty dope. Translation Not that I have anything to compare it to, but I found Michael Musa's translation easy to read and entertaining, modern without being over-modern. Thumbs up to that. This is a lot of stories, shit I consulted two different lists of the "best" stories in The Decameron, reading any story that appeared on either list, around 2/3 of them in all. The first was translator Mike Musa's, from the introduction to my edition; the second was Jack Murnighan's, from a book called Beowulf on the Beach, which is fine but Murnighan can be a bit of a twit. Here are the lists: Introduction I Musa: 1 - 3 Murnighan: 1, 5 II Musa: 4 - 7, 10 Murnighan: 1 - 6, 7, 10 III Musa: 1, 2, 9, 10 Murnighan: 1 - 4, 6, 10 IV Musa: Prologue, 1, 2, 5, 9 Murnighan: 1, 5 V Musa: 1, 4, 8 - 10 Murnighan: 4, 9, 10 VI Musa: 1,4,5,7,10 Murnighan: 5, 6, 9 VII: Musa: 2,9,10 Murnighan: 2, 5, 9, 10 VIII: Musa: 3, 5-10 Murnighan: 1, 2, 6 - 9 IX: Musa: 2,3,5,6,10 Murnighan: 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10 (Murnighan actually says 9 is "ultra-misogynistic and not to my taste," but after a comment like that you sortof have to read it, right? Turns out it's ultra-misogynistic and not to my taste.) X: Musa: 3,4,8-10 Murnighan: 4, 7, 9, 10

  12. 4 out of 5

    David Lentz

    This great book is set in a country estate outside Florence during a plague. The meaning of the setting was not lost upon me: with death beckoning from all corners, one is wise to enjoy life and pass the hours sharing experience among those about whom one cares. These comic and tragic tales are told in rotation among a group of wealthy people killing time within a garden, a little island of civilization, a little Eden -- paradise. The vast majority of these 100 tales involve amusing stories abou This great book is set in a country estate outside Florence during a plague. The meaning of the setting was not lost upon me: with death beckoning from all corners, one is wise to enjoy life and pass the hours sharing experience among those about whom one cares. These comic and tragic tales are told in rotation among a group of wealthy people killing time within a garden, a little island of civilization, a little Eden -- paradise. The vast majority of these 100 tales involve amusing stories about unworthy men who are not attentive to the needs of their women. In this book the women are ardently pursued by other men who satisfy these women far better and the men roundly receive diverse forms punishment for their folly. Boccaccio could well have provided micro-plots for half the literature of his day, and thereafter, by virtue of his highly inventive story lines. There is a great deal of satire of clergy in diverse positions of power in the church, including insatiable nuns and perverse abbotts looking to overcome the unnatural restraints of their vows of celibacy. Everyone is fair game in this collection of bawdy and irreverent tales, especially the arrogant, proud, unfaithful and powerful. There's little under the surface here except the messages which emerge from the thwarting of immorality but they are amusing and the reading, although voluminous, is good fun. If you like great literature in the long form, then you'll be highly amused by "The Decameron."

  13. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    The Decameron, a collection of 100 short (to short-ish) stories told by ten young Florentine men and women during the plague over ten days is a fun if often frustrating bit of fiction. The stories range from the dazzling, creative and surprising to the more rote and uninspired. First the good: there are all kinds of crazy shenanigans going on in throughout the course of the collection, and it’s quite a bit of fun to read stories written almost 700 years ago that ends with wife swapping, threesom The Decameron, a collection of 100 short (to short-ish) stories told by ten young Florentine men and women during the plague over ten days is a fun if often frustrating bit of fiction. The stories range from the dazzling, creative and surprising to the more rote and uninspired. First the good: there are all kinds of crazy shenanigans going on in throughout the course of the collection, and it’s quite a bit of fun to read stories written almost 700 years ago that ends with wife swapping, threesomes, and more torrid love affairs than you’ll be able to keep track of. A couple of endearing recurring characters pop up, namely the endlessly gullible Calandrino and his friends (it’s a loose term) Bruno and Buffalmalco, and Boccaccio is at his best in these stories. The way men and women interact, and are treated by each other, is a fascinating mess of complexities and contradictions. That said, some of the stories are simply not up to the standard of the others. Telling one hundred short stories in one go is an ambitious task for any author to undertake, and when Boccaccio isn’t at his best, it’s noticeable and the pace drags. Some stories are simply too long (Boccaccio himself even anticipated this complaint in his afterward, and states that these stories were designed for noblewomen who really had nothing better to do with their time anyway). And while the framing device is a fascinating concept (ten people escaping tragedy through storytelling), most of the narrators wind up seeming flat and interchangeable. The two exceptions, Dioneo and Philostrato, are occasionally fun or morbid, respectively. But the rest of the cast amounts to repeated iterations of the well-mannered, slightly witty young socialite, and I kept finding myself going back to figure out which narrator was telling which story. It doesn’t particularly damage the individual stories, but it’s quite a bit of wasted potential. The Decameron reminded me more than anything else of Dante’s Divine Comedy. The subject manner and tone are hugely different, with the Decameron more reminiscent of a cocktail party than The Divine Comedy’s theology seminar, but both works are framed by a distinctive and overarching structure. Both works are very, very conscious of time – Dante moves through the clearly delineated circles hell, purgatory and heaven over three distinctive days, with the movement of the sun consistently marked. The storytelling of the Decameron takes places over ten days (with two weekend breaks), with ten narrators per day. But while Dante’s framework gives him a solid platform to which to return after mystical and linguistic leaps, Boccaccio’s is more of a constraint, making a collection of so many varied and lively stories feel restricted and boxed-in. That said, it’s definitely worth a look if you’re at all interested in medieval culture. Given it’s weaknesses, I’d say it’s a great book to read in bits and pieces, a few stories here and there when you’re in the mood.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bettie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. (view spoiler)[Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]

  15. 5 out of 5

    Czarny Pies

    So many people have read this book and so many great authors have borrowed from it, that a GoodReads critic really has no choice but to give it 5 stars. My favourite day, is the one dedicated to the theme and I quote: "When they are twenty, they need it plenty." Although, to be honest the book never at any point strays very far from the gutter which explains its perennial appeal. The problem with the Decameron is that people are terrified by the length. They think of the time required to read all So many people have read this book and so many great authors have borrowed from it, that a GoodReads critic really has no choice but to give it 5 stars. My favourite day, is the one dedicated to the theme and I quote: "When they are twenty, they need it plenty." Although, to be honest the book never at any point strays very far from the gutter which explains its perennial appeal. The problem with the Decameron is that people are terrified by the length. They think of the time required to read all 100 stories and back off. I solved the problem by resolving to read ten stories every year and finishing in ten years. Once you do this you can begin without fear of failure. Some people find that it helps to read the book in the Serengetti or at a café beside the Grande Canal of Venice. I read it in the patio in front of my steam bath in the Karelia. I still think that the 10 stories per year plan is the best. It allows you to stay in control of the process. To be honest in the third year, at the steam bath the stories acquired the taste of salty popcorn and I read the last 800 stories in three weeks.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sergio

    We need tales to survive in this world. To escape the Black Death a group of seven young women and three young men flee to a secluded villa outside Florence. And for two weeks they tell stories - a noble and reasonable way to pass the hard times. Now, The Human Comedy by Balzac comes to mind. In his multi-volume collection, the great novelist was depicting French society of the time. In Boccaccio’s Decameron I find a similar representation of “human comedies”, in a nutshell. The whole collection i We need tales to survive in this world. To escape the Black Death a group of seven young women and three young men flee to a secluded villa outside Florence. And for two weeks they tell stories - a noble and reasonable way to pass the hard times. Now, The Human Comedy by Balzac comes to mind. In his multi-volume collection, the great novelist was depicting French society of the time. In Boccaccio’s Decameron I find a similar representation of “human comedies”, in a nutshell. The whole collection is perfectly balanced. I imagine it as a polyptych painted al fresco by… Botticelli, yes, and in most cases, by Piero della Francesca, as I see it. I hit the button “I’m finished”. Instead, wouldn’t it be right just to “Save Progress”, go back to the beginning and start reading the book again? Our days aren’t much different from those times of the plague…

  17. 5 out of 5

    TheSkepticalReader

    I hate to say I abandoned or DNF'd this but I just couldn't read any more. I'm happy to have to read the book til day 7 and story 2. The stories were often repetitive and despite the fact that each day offers a different theme, some of the stories easily overlapped and I got to the point where I have no idea what characters feature in which story or which story is even told by which person. I did try to leave days in between the days and then the stories themselves but overall I am still not in t I hate to say I abandoned or DNF'd this but I just couldn't read any more. I'm happy to have to read the book til day 7 and story 2. The stories were often repetitive and despite the fact that each day offers a different theme, some of the stories easily overlapped and I got to the point where I have no idea what characters feature in which story or which story is even told by which person. I did try to leave days in between the days and then the stories themselves but overall I am still not in the mood to read this entire book. Quite a few of the stories were also either a) just not good or b) not pleasant to read. (Some also made fun of women in such a crude way that it soured me a bit. And yes, I am aware that this is book written in the 14th century, but that doesn't make the reading any easier). I am glad to have read as much as I did and am content to leave it there.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Fede

    Giovanni Boccaccio's "Decameron" is a huge monument to Italy and to Italians - mercilessly, hilariously portrayed as they really are; when it comes to vices and virtues very little has changed in my country in the last seven centuries, you know. It's a great human mosaic. It's like getting lost in the crowd of a street market, in a kaleidoscope of colours and smells and noises and people pushing, screaming, laughing, sweating... mind your bag, by the way - Boccaccio's heroes never miss the chanc Giovanni Boccaccio's "Decameron" is a huge monument to Italy and to Italians - mercilessly, hilariously portrayed as they really are; when it comes to vices and virtues very little has changed in my country in the last seven centuries, you know. It's a great human mosaic. It's like getting lost in the crowd of a street market, in a kaleidoscope of colours and smells and noises and people pushing, screaming, laughing, sweating... mind your bag, by the way - Boccaccio's heroes never miss the chance. "Decameron": 'ten days'. Florence, Anno Domini 1348. The year of the Great Mortality. The plague hasn't spared the Italian peninsula in its devastating journey from the Asian stepppes. Boccaccio happens to be among the witnesses of such dreadful interregnum of death and despair and - in his gorgoeus, unforgettable introduction - he depicts the scenes of insanity and fear taking place in the city: the desperate attempts to survive, the bursts of violence, the courage , the meanness. Most of all, he cries over the spreading amorality of many and praises the heroic generosity of a few kind souls still clinging to their humanity. One day ten youths - three boys and seven girls, whose symbolic names are related to their peculiar qualities - meet in an unidentified Florentine church and decide to escape the city and its dreadful atmosphere. They reach the countryside, that marvellous Tuscan landscape of vineyards and cloisters and orchards, and settle in one of the girls' villa with plenty of flowers, exquisite food, music and games, determined not to be dragged down by the madness of the dying city. As soon as they get there though, our friends have a very good idea: every afternoon they will meet in the garden, where each of them will tell the company a tale. The daily theme of such tales will be picked by the 'leader', a role to be played by everyone in turn. Thus for ten days - hence the title - the plague, the horrors, the decay are left behind and almost fofgotten: all that really matters is the spring, the sun, the cool stream flowing by and the birds singing and chirping all around. Life. As for the stories, the author explores any possible genre and subject... with a penchant for eroticism, of course. One day is dedicated to happy-ending love adventures, to be followed by a gloomy day of love tragedies in which a grand-guignolesque atmosphere prevails. Then we find several tales of adventures, war, dangerous journeys, but also the praise of human industriousness and wit. One of the afternoons is indeed dedicated to the celebration of trickery: tales of adulterous affairs, commercial frauds, religious credulousness ruthlessly exploited by shrewd priests and friars... all quite familiar, isn't it? All in all, Boccaccio seems to master just any narrative technique. Take his love tales, for instance: they range from the innocence of a teenage romance to lots of satirical blasphemy to the most hilarious obscenity. His characters curse, insult each other, tell obscene jokes; their language is the true jargon of the streets. It's the hiss of a woman hiding his lover in a barrel, the whisper of a monk in the confessional, the screams of a raging prostitute and her drunken pimp.... the freshness and spontaneousness of his style are unique, far beyond any tradition - and this particular kind of heterogeneous collection has a very long one, even though only Chaucer will ever achieve, a few years later, such narrative perfection. This book is funny, intriguing, historically interesting, anthropologically unparalleled. It's the gargantuan depiction of a whole people and culture. I guess any non-Italian reader will perceive the atmosphere of the narrow streets of Florence, Naples, Venice - the most recurrent settings of these tales, along with remote lands like China and the Middle East. Moreover, Boccaccio's writing style is so delightfully straightforward that I'm sure nothing gets lost in translation. Forget our 'modern', stereotypical image of the late Middle Ages. Boccaccio's work shows how busy, hectic, lively those days were, when an ambitious middle class was already reshaping Europe: bankers, merchants, craftsmen, city officers were restlessly struggling to emerge and become the pivotal element of a radically new society - the beginning of the humanistic wave that would lead to the Renaissance in less than a century. Perhaps the Middle Ages were not much more afflicted by dirt, violence, famine, religious fanaticism than today's world is, except that nowadays we have learnt either to make them part of the show-business or turn our head and pretend they don't exist. Which is much easier. What these tragedies and ills lack today is only the blatant form in which they were universally known back then. This book is the best example of an intellectually and morally honest attitude toward reality we seem to have lost and need to be reminded of. In fact, no civil or religious institution is spared in these pages. A depraved friar with fake wings fitted on his back introduces himself as an Archangel in order to seduce a Venetian lady; a preacher carries around a box full of ashes, telling the peasants they belonged to a martyr burned by the Romans; a landlord kills his daughter for loving a servant; a female monastery recruits a dumb, young and good-looking male worker for illicit purposes... definitely this book wasn't put on the Index for nothing. This is Boccaccio's "Decameron", and so much more: a diabolically crowded fresco in which the reader loses himself like a time-travelling flaneur. P.S. See also the great film version by Pasolini, set in Naples instead of Florence.

  19. 5 out of 5

    El

    Being stuck on a couch for a day-and-a-half helps finish off books that have been taking too long to read on a regular basis. It was good to polish off Boccaccio. So the plot is pretty easy to understand. It's 14th century Florence, and there's this pesky plague thing (aka, the Black Death) hanging around cramping everyone's style. A handful of folks go off to some safe distance and amuse themselves by telling each other stories - 10 stories a day for 10 days. Cool, right? Almost. The problem is th Being stuck on a couch for a day-and-a-half helps finish off books that have been taking too long to read on a regular basis. It was good to polish off Boccaccio. So the plot is pretty easy to understand. It's 14th century Florence, and there's this pesky plague thing (aka, the Black Death) hanging around cramping everyone's style. A handful of folks go off to some safe distance and amuse themselves by telling each other stories - 10 stories a day for 10 days. Cool, right? Almost. The problem is the stories get a little repetitive and a lot tedious. They are best read as bedtime stories, and not probably as a tear-through-this-book kinda read. The stories range from quite sexual to pure politics to even a wee bit of religion thrown in, though other stories encompass all in one. You think stories of the clergy today are downright nasty? You should see what Boccaccio thought of religion in his day. The best part of this book is that you actually learn quite a bit about Italian history and politics by reading these stories. It's hard to imagine really, especially if you take the stories individually. But as a whole you realize that you're actually a little smarter at the end than you were at the beginning. I can't speak for all the different translations out there of this book, but Mark Musa and Peter Bondanella did a seemingly fantastic job. Their little footnotes were succinct and appropriate, leaving all pretension at the door. I think I just expected something different from this, and that's certainly not Boccaccio's fault. I'm actually more curious about him, The Man Behind the Book, so if someone knows of a decent Boccaccio biography I'm all ears. And I'm glad to have read this now - another one of those Italian heavyweights (aka, Italian Stallions) I can mark off my mental list. But let's be fair, shall we? Boccaccio was no Dante.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Crito

    One important thing to note about The Decameron is its emphasis on the folksy and a lack of metaphysical import. I read it in succession to The Romance of the Rose, which constructs a grand, cosmic, and ultimately farcical account of courtly love. The Decameron presents the other side, which is a commonplace, secular, additionally farcical account of love more aligned with the troubadour tradition and Heloise’s mantra of “love freely given”. People fuck because it’s fun and they like it. They ar One important thing to note about The Decameron is its emphasis on the folksy and a lack of metaphysical import. I read it in succession to The Romance of the Rose, which constructs a grand, cosmic, and ultimately farcical account of courtly love. The Decameron presents the other side, which is a commonplace, secular, additionally farcical account of love more aligned with the troubadour tradition and Heloise’s mantra of “love freely given”. People fuck because it’s fun and they like it. They are all additionally informed by Ovid’s cynical take on the nature of the lover as selfish and calculated, and love itself as a frenzied force. The Decameron is not a cosmic allegory as in the Romance of the Rose, it's a series of stories told by ordinary people about people. It uses the fantastical only so far as fiction itself is fantastical. And above that, it is secular. God is relegated to apostrophe and the human actions of human priests and monks. An excellent story in the third day tells of a woman who instructs a lover who is courting her (though it smacks of her courting him) via the priest. For example the woman would go to confession and tells the priest how doggedly persistent a lover has been and that she wishes he would not appear outside her window at such and such an hour and so on (which the lover hadn't done) for the sake of her chastity and purity, and the priest then remonstrates the lover for appearing outside her window at such and such an hour, which of course instructs the lover to go to her window later that night. The lovers manage to hook up, owed entirely to the assistance of the structural ineptitude of the institutions put in place to prevent that sort of thing. The church is then an entirely superfluous human institution which is more of a cultural hurdle to get around. There is a reading of The Decameron insisting it is a Thomist allegory, but really damning aspects of the text like this subvert that idea. It would be sheer blindness to Boccaccio's irony to suggest the lesson of this story would be something like the church not acting enough to thwart the tides of passion. The lovers are the ones the story roots for. Boccaccio is also capable of some truly horrific stories. A story on the fifth day recounts a woman who wants nothing to do with a particular suitor. The suitor takes a walk in the woods to find a naked woman running screaming from a knight who catches her and guts her, before she springs back to life and he pursues her again ad infinitum. In an appeal to the supernatural rare for this book, here the knight explains the woman scorned him, and was thus damned to be pursued in this way by him for eternity. So the suitor has the bright idea to invite the woman for a picnic to these same woods, where they witness the gory spectacle. She then consents to marriage after this display, and they live happily (?!) ever after. This story is (view spoiler)[problematic (hide spoiler)] in a very interesting way. This isn't a story where we're really cheering for love. Here it's a horrifying affliction which makes a monster of specifically men it infects. Men don't simply cope with passion as with a cold, they absolutely must have what they are affected by, and in fear of what men do, the culture uniformly assents a necessary sacrifice to appease these monsters. The same love of the "love freely given" turns into a terrible Charybdis, swallowing and destroying whatever happens by. The courtly love by which women are supposedly protected from men doesn't work, and with that institution gone women are expected to assent to absolutely any man with a homicidal enough passion to fuck her to avoid anything worse happening. In Boccaccio the women all agree she did the right thing in marrying him. Boccaccio of course cloaks himself in layers of irony, but I expect he cares more about the issue of passions more so than the role of women in courtship. There's a genuinely amusing story on day 10 in which a man arrives to mourn a woman recently deceased from illness. He instead notices her "beauty" and gets horny enough to want to fuck a corpse, shoves his face in her tits, and in doing so notices a faint heartbeat. He rushes her off to a doctor and in doing so nurses her back to life, and she falls in love with him for his heroic action of saving her. Now, she was married. So he consults a confidant, say hypothetically if a man were to "abandon" his "servant," is the one who then takes in this "servant" true to rights? They conclude yes, but later he restores the "servant" back to her husband, which is what the story applauds as an act of magnanimity. Back to our Thomist reading which insists the tenth day as the day meant to extol the true model behaviors. I politely disagree. That story, and indeed elements of the ones I have recounted, were kind of dumb and unbelievable. This works out to the advantage of some stories, as one where people keep killing themselves on a poison sage leaf to prove it's poison. However, as a rule it really tends to be weak and headshaking a lot of the time. One story has a man tricking a woman into believing her husband is cheating on her so that when she goes to the brothel to confront her husband she instead finds this man who supposes she'll be in the mood to fuck him (she does). Many others are stories just for the sake of really bad dad jokes, like a priest who convinces a nun he's an angel to fuck her, or the other priest who convinces a woman he has a "devil" he needs to "hide away" with her, or the story where the punchline is a post-coital woman gently holding her lover's penis like a dove. The problem with the dumb, unbelievable, and unremarkable stories is they outnumber the good ones immeasurably. Some are briefly amusing, but many are just simply groaning and tedious. That tends to suck out the fun which these stories are meant to convey. Innumerable are the mistaken identities, separated lovers, reunions, tragedies. The problem of the Decameron is how many stories are terribly inconsequential, and the frame story really doesn't add anything on top of it. Boccaccio himself is aware of this, saying indeed if you're not a woman with a lot of time on her hands you're wasting your time reading this. He says this in irony of course, there's no reason to suggest he doesn't take his work seriously, but with that there's no excuse for how many stories fall flat. Part of this is because of what he was trying to do: validate prose as an art form, and as I said affect a shift to the worldly and commonplace. But he doesn't always succeed at making it interesting.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nathan "N.R." Gaddis

    So I finally found a fifty cent copy of the Penguin Decameron trans'd by McWilliam and here a new trans pops onto the horizon ; this one by Wayne A. Rebhorn from Norton. Following is a review from the new yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics... "An instructive companion volume to Rebhorn’s Decameron is the recent The Fabliaux: A New Verse Translation, translated by Nathaniel E. Dubin, and described by R. Howard Bloch, in the introduction, as the first substantial collection of fabliaux, i So I finally found a fifty cent copy of the Penguin Decameron trans'd by McWilliam and here a new trans pops onto the horizon ; this one by Wayne A. Rebhorn from Norton. Following is a review from the new yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics... "An instructive companion volume to Rebhorn’s Decameron is the recent The Fabliaux: A New Verse Translation, translated by Nathaniel E. Dubin, and described by R. Howard Bloch, in the introduction, as the first substantial collection of fabliaux, in any language, for today’s general reader."

  22. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    From BBC Radio 3 - Drama on 3: Terry Jones introduces five ripping Renaissance yarns from The Decameron, starring John Finnemore, Ingrid Oliver, Carrie Quinlan, Lydia Leonard, Samuel Barnett and Colin McFarlane. The one hundred stories which make up Giovanni Boccaccio's humane and comic masterpiece, come from all over the world. They are vividly reset by Boccaccio among the flourishing merchant classes in the cities of Renaissance Italy. But their witty, satirical, bawdy voice sounds utterly moder From BBC Radio 3 - Drama on 3: Terry Jones introduces five ripping Renaissance yarns from The Decameron, starring John Finnemore, Ingrid Oliver, Carrie Quinlan, Lydia Leonard, Samuel Barnett and Colin McFarlane. The one hundred stories which make up Giovanni Boccaccio's humane and comic masterpiece, come from all over the world. They are vividly reset by Boccaccio among the flourishing merchant classes in the cities of Renaissance Italy. But their witty, satirical, bawdy voice sounds utterly modern, and their subjects - love, fate, sex, religion, morality - are universal.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    Had I read this on my own, I probably would have assigned it four stars. But fortunately I read The Decameron for a class taught by a medievalist who really knows how to put this bawdy book into context with Dante and Petrarch, Chaucer, and the Renaissance writers who borrowed from or reacted so strongly to this fascinating and ambiguous work. Is it a satire? Is it allegorical? Is it a playful game? You could read it many times over and not be sure. But you will glean insights into the daily liv Had I read this on my own, I probably would have assigned it four stars. But fortunately I read The Decameron for a class taught by a medievalist who really knows how to put this bawdy book into context with Dante and Petrarch, Chaucer, and the Renaissance writers who borrowed from or reacted so strongly to this fascinating and ambiguous work. Is it a satire? Is it allegorical? Is it a playful game? You could read it many times over and not be sure. But you will glean insights into the daily lives of people, high and low, during an epoch of plague, war, feudal tribalism and religious factionalism. Just like 2018!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bruce

    These one hundred short tales, written in about 1350, are framed within a charming and idyllic background wherein seven maidens and three youths leave Florence during the plague to spend time in lovely and implausible country palaces entertaining themselves until it is safe to return to the city. One of their means of amusement and entertainment is to tell each other stories, ten each day for ten days, and it is these stories that comprise The Decameron. The stories are delightful and earthy, oft These one hundred short tales, written in about 1350, are framed within a charming and idyllic background wherein seven maidens and three youths leave Florence during the plague to spend time in lovely and implausible country palaces entertaining themselves until it is safe to return to the city. One of their means of amusement and entertainment is to tell each other stories, ten each day for ten days, and it is these stories that comprise The Decameron. The stories are delightful and earthy, often salacious and usually anti-clerical, varied enough not to seem repetitious, mostly dealing with love and its vicissitudes. Many are recognizable in the works of Chaucer and Shakespeare, to name only a couple of authors who have benefited from Boccaccio’s imagination and wit. Boccaccio’s fecund imagination is astonishing, for despite similar underlying themes in most of the tales, they never become repetitious or tedious. This particular edition is a translation from 1982 by Mark Musa, who has also provided excellent translations of Dante and Petrarch. His translation is impressive, in my opinion. I chose to take this book on a recent vacation and found it ideal for short bits of reading, few of the tales lasting more than a few pages, and the tenor being light enough to pick up and drop as circumstances allowed. Reading Boccaccio in a tent in the middle of Tanzania’s Serengeti may seem incongruous, but it was delightful!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Wilson

    Three stars because the quality of the stories was all over the place. Some rated much higher, others lower. The stories were, in turn, bawdy, folksy, funny, and shrewd. But one of the things that struck me was how lightly adultery was treated in the 14th century. The natural man was alive and kicking, with a thin whitewash of Christian sentiment to make it seem okay.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    from amazon: (via my mom) Bawdy tales of love, February 18, 2009 This was required reading for a graduate course in medieval history. The "Decameron" is a collection of 100 novellas by Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio, probably begun in 1350 and finished in 1353. It is a medieval allegorical work best known for its bawdy tales of love, appearing in all its possibilities from the erotic to the tragic. Other topics such as wit and witticism, practical jokes and worldly initiation also form part of from amazon: (via my mom) Bawdy tales of love, February 18, 2009 This was required reading for a graduate course in medieval history. The "Decameron" is a collection of 100 novellas by Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio, probably begun in 1350 and finished in 1353. It is a medieval allegorical work best known for its bawdy tales of love, appearing in all its possibilities from the erotic to the tragic. Other topics such as wit and witticism, practical jokes and worldly initiation also form part of the mosaic. Beyond its entertainment and literary popularity, it remains an important historical document of life in the fourteenth century. Decameron is structured in a frame narrative, or frame tale. Boccaccio begins with a description of the Black Death and leads into an introduction of a group of seven young women and three young men who flee from plague-ridden Florence to a villa in the (then) countryside of Fiesole for two weeks. To pass the time, each member of the party tells one story for each one of the nights spent at the villa. Although fourteen days pass, two days each week are set aside: one day for chores and one holy day during which no work is done. In this manner, 100 stories are told by the end of the ten days. Each of the ten characters is charged as King or Queen of the company for one of the ten days in turn. This charge extends to choosing the theme of the stories for that day, and all but two days have topics assigned: examples of the power of fortune; examples of the power of human will; love tales that end tragically; love tales that end happily; clever replies that save the speaker; tricks that women play on men; tricks that people play on each other in general; examples of virtue. Only Dioneo, who usually tells the tenth tale each day, has the right to tell a tale on any topic he wishes, due to his wit. Each day also includes a short introduction and conclusion to continue the frame of the tales by describing other daily activities besides story telling. These frame tale interludes frequently include transcriptions of Italian folk songs. The interactions among tales in a day, or across days, as Boccaccio spins variations and reversals of previous material, forms a whole and not just a collection of stories. The basic plots of the stories including mocking the lust and greed of the clergy; tensions in Italian society between the new wealthy commercial class and noble families; the perils and adventures of traveling merchants. The title is a portmanteau, or combination of two Greek words meaning "ten" and "day". Boccacio made similar Greek etymological plays of words in his other works. The subtitle is Prencipe Galeotto, which derives from the opening material in which Boccaccio dedicates the work to ladies of the day who did not have the diversions of men (hunting, fishing, riding, falconry) who were forced to conceal their amorous passions and stay idle and concealed in their rooms. Thus, the book is subtitled Prencipe Galeotto, that is Galehaut, the go-between of Lancelot and Guinevere, a nod to Dante's allusion to Galeotto in "Inferno V", who was blamed for the arousal of lust in the episode of Paolo and Francesca. Throughout Decameron, the mercantile ethic prevails and predominates. The commercial and urban values of quick wit, sophistication, and intelligence are treasured, while the vices of stupidity and dullness are cured, or punished. While these traits and values will seem obvious to the modern reader, they were an emerging feature in Europe with the rise of urban centers and a monetized economic system beyond the traditional rural feudal and monastery systems, which placed greater value on piety and loyalty. Beyond the unity provided by the frame narrative, Decameron provides a unity in philosophical outlook. Throughout runs the common medieval theme of Lady Fortune, and how quickly one can rise and fall through the external influences of the "Wheel of Fortune". Boccaccio had been educated in the tradition of Dante's Divine Comedy, which used various levels of allegory to show the connections between the literal events of the story and the hidden Christian message. However, Decameron uses Dante's model not to educate the reader, but to satirize this method of learning. The Roman Catholic Church, priests, and religious belief become the satirical source of comedy throughout. This was part of a wider historical trend in the aftermath of the Black Death, which saw widespread discontent with the church. Many details of the Decameron are infused with a medieval sense of numerological and mystical significance. For example, it is widely believed that the seven young women are meant to represent the Four Cardinal Virtues (Prudence, Justice, Temperance, and Fortitude) and the Three Theological Virtues (Faith, Hope, and Charity). It is further supposed that the three men represent the classical Greek tripartite division of the soul (Reason, Spirit, and Lust, see Book IV of Republic). Boccaccio himself notes that the names he gives for these ten characters are in fact pseudonyms chosen as "appropriate to the qualities of each". The Italian names of the seven women, in the same (most likely significant) order as given in the text, are: Pampinea, Fiammetta, Filomena, Emilia, Lauretta, Neifile, and Elissa. The men, in order, are: Panfilo, Filostrato, and Dioneo. Recommended reading for anyone interested in literature and medieval history.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Elie F

    What is the purpose of this collection of 100 dirty, witty, not-so-funny jokes. To entertain bored ladies, as Boccaccio suggested? I don't think so; neither do I think Boccaccio is sincere in most of his defensive arguments, such as that words cannot corrupt as long as the soul is noble. From my perspective, he is very aware of the corruptive nature of his narrative, and he wants to boast about it without being held accountable; this entire book is intended to destabilize and corrupt, as its sub What is the purpose of this collection of 100 dirty, witty, not-so-funny jokes. To entertain bored ladies, as Boccaccio suggested? I don't think so; neither do I think Boccaccio is sincere in most of his defensive arguments, such as that words cannot corrupt as long as the soul is noble. From my perspective, he is very aware of the corruptive nature of his narrative, and he wants to boast about it without being held accountable; this entire book is intended to destabilize and corrupt, as its subtitle "Prince Galehaut" suggests. Some stories are cute and telling about late Medieval Italy, but I can't say I enjoy this as much I expected.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Marts (Thinker)

    The Decameron encompasses two weeks of story telling by 7 young women and 3 young men, who gather at the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella before going to a villa in the country side in an effort to escape the Black Death. Every day each person tells a story, the tales ranging from satirical tales of the Catholic church to misadventures, embarrassments, spouses cheating each other, men and women tricking each other, etc, etc, etc... Most tales are quite humorous whilst others convey a rather impor The Decameron encompasses two weeks of story telling by 7 young women and 3 young men, who gather at the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella before going to a villa in the country side in an effort to escape the Black Death. Every day each person tells a story, the tales ranging from satirical tales of the Catholic church to misadventures, embarrassments, spouses cheating each other, men and women tricking each other, etc, etc, etc... Most tales are quite humorous whilst others convey a rather important message. All this being said, the Decameron was a rather enjoyable read and I would recommend this to all who appreciate the pleasures of the occasional classic...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    An astonishing work that the world has been reading for over 700 years! One to be savored again and again.

  30. 5 out of 5

    classic reverie

    I started with a different Penguin version & almost 20% in changed to this version which has notes & easier to read. The other edition had more archaic wording & many of the stories were with a more pleasant ending. Not being able to read Italian, I had to hope that the latest version was closet to Boccaccio meaning. I enjoy about 80% of these 100 stories & the other 20% were not a favorite but it deems 5 stars nonetheless. While I was reading Mary Elizabeth Braddon's London Pride I started with a different Penguin version & almost 20% in changed to this version which has notes & easier to read. The other edition had more archaic wording & many of the stories were with a more pleasant ending. Not being able to read Italian, I had to hope that the latest version was closet to Boccaccio meaning. I enjoy about 80% of these 100 stories & the other 20% were not a favorite but it deems 5 stars nonetheless. While I was reading Mary Elizabeth Braddon's London Pride which was about London during the Black Plague outbreak in the 1665, a mentioning of Giovanni Boccaccio's "The Decameron" & I then decided I wanted to read this book. Where in Braddon's book there is more a storyline with the Black Plague, Boccaccio who actually lived through The Black Death (1347-9), his book's prologue gives you a taste of the devastation, death & mind set of the people but stops there & his book is about 100 stories told by 10 friends on 10 different days. Seven females & three males to escape Florence & take refuge in different countryside locations. I started reading Penguin Classic version prior to this Penguin edition which though I could have read with some trouble but finish nonetheless but when having trouble with a story around 1/4 into the book, I found this edition which I found more helpful. The prior version had archaic words which were not hard to determine their meaning because the spelling was quite similar but different to modern times. The newer version had notes that help with less googling time. The story that I was unclear about became clear with the newer book & after seeing a difference in the story I decided to start from scratch & I read all the stories I read before which I found interesting how even though they were basically the same & happier ending was in my previous version. At that point I wanted to read both books but after doing that for about a third of the book I gave up to just read my current version. My thoughts on this I think the newer version shows all the bawdiness that the previous version watered down a bit but not a lot. I think the only way to know what actually the author was saying would be to read the Italian edition but not being versed in other languages I have to take faith in the translator. Some have said the author is writing a book more for the delight of females & being more feminist in tone but like the translator I think that Boccaccio may have some aspects of this in his writing in general he seems to be more critical & a more male dominance. There is an anti religious tone for the clergy/nuns but yet the belief in God in general which if there is a story it is very sleight.Matthew Lewis "The Monk" comes in mind to several stories. There is also innuendo about homosexuality in some stories.The Decameronwas written in 1351. The 100 stories are told in 10 days which each of the 10 people tell a story each day. I really enjoyed 80% of the stories & especially enjoy the stories of the last day which dealt with the topic of munificence. After reading this book I put Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales on my list to read. Reading this was reading 100 different short stories with some character overlap into other tales. The author comments about criticism that he will receive about retelling of many of these stories which were around but not in print but he defends his way of story telling, which is for the reader to comment as they may. His historical reference in some stories is not always to be relied on because the accuracy of the dates & events maybe quite off but that does not diminish the stories.Excerpts-"I say, then, that the sum of thirteen hundred and forty-eight years had elapsed since the fruitful Incarnation of the Son of God, when the noble city of Florence, which for its great beauty excels all others in Italy, was visited by the deadly pestilence. Some say that it descended upon the human race through the influence of the heavenly bodies, others that it was punishment signifying God's righteous anger at the our iniquitous way of life.""Pampinea's arguments, ladies, are most convincing, but we should not follow her advice as hastily as you appear to wish. You must remember that we are all women, and every one of us is sufficiently adult to acknowledge that women, when left to themselves, are not the most rational of creatures, and that without the supervision of some man or other their capacity for getting things done is somewhat restricted. We are fickle, quarrelsome, suspicious, cowardly, and easily frightened;""The story I propose to relate, concerning the manner in which a sanctimonious friar was well and truly hoodwinked by a pretty woman, audience inasmuch as the priesthood consists for the most part of extremely stupid men, inscrutable in their ways, who consider themselves in all respects more worthy and knowledgeable than other people, whereas they are decidedly inferior.""Graceful ladies, the wisdom of mortals consists, as I think you know, not only in remembering the past and apprehending the present, but in being able, through a knowledge of each, to anticipate the future, which grave men regard as the acme of human intelligence. "

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