Decameron

ISBN-10: 0393069303
ISBN-13: 9780393069303
Edition: 2013
List price: $39.95 Buy it from $9.72
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Description: Ten young Florentines flee the Black Death of 1348 by escaping to a country villa overlooking the city. There they spend ten days telling each other stories—one hundred in all. Their stories run the gamut of medieval genres—romance, tragedy, comedy,  More...

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Book details

List price: $39.95
Copyright year: 2013
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, Incorporated
Publication date: 9/16/2013
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 1264
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.75" long x 2.00" tall
Weight: 3.014
Language: English

Ten young Florentines flee the Black Death of 1348 by escaping to a country villa overlooking the city. There they spend ten days telling each other stories—one hundred in all. Their stories run the gamut of medieval genres—romance, tragedy, comedy, and farce—and are rich with wit, earthiness, and even bawdy irreverence.Boccaccio’s reputation as one of the world’s greatest authors rests entirely on this singular, overflowing work. A tribute to the essential power of storytelling and laughter, even in the most trying times, The Decameron has been a source and inspiration for countless other storytellers over the centuries.The first American translation in thirty years, published on the 700th anniversary of Boccaccio’s birth, Wayne A. Rebhorn’s Decameron now speaks to us directly in a “lively, contemporary, American-inflected English” (Stephen Greenblatt).

Although Giovanni Boccaccio was born in France and raised and educated in Naples, where he wrote his first works under the patronage of the French Angevin ruler, Boccaccio always considered himself a Tuscan, like Petrarch and Dante. After Boccaccio returned to Florence in 1340, he witnessed the outbreak of the great plague, or Black Death, in 1348. This provided the setting for his most famous work, the vernacular prose masterpiece Il Decamerone (Decameron) (1353). This collection of 100 short stories, told by 10 Florentines who leave plague-infected Florence for the neighboring hill town of Fiesole, is clear evidence of the beginning of the Renaissance in Italy. The highly finished work exerted a tremendous influence on Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dryden, Keats, and Tennyson even as it established itself as the great classic of Italian fictional prose. Although Chaucer did not mention Boccaccio's name, his Canterbury Tales are clearly modeled on the Decameron. Boccaccio's other important works are a short life of Dante and commentaries on the Divine Comedy; Filocolo (1340) a prose romance; Filostrato (1335), a poem on Troilus and Cressida; and Theseus (1340-41), a poem dealing with the story of Theseus, Palamon, and Arcite. Boccassio's only attempt at writing an epic was a work that Chaucer rendered as his "Knight's Tale." Boccaccio's last work written in Italian was the gloomy, cautionary tale titled The Corbaccio (1355). The Nymph Song (1346), as a counterpiece for the Decameron, demonstrates that it is possible to read the Decameron as an allegory, with the plague representing the spiritual plague of medieval Christianity, viewed from the vantage point of Renaissance humanism. Many of the Decameron tales are indeed paganized versions of medieval sermons about sin and damnation with the morals reversed. After 1363 Boccaccio concentrated on trying to gain enduring fame by writing, in Latin, a series of lives of memorable men and women and a genealogy of the pagan gods. Boccaccio died in 1375.

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