Posted in Historical Perspective, Language

The Decameron: A small introduction…

The Stories of the Decameron

The Decameron begins with the flight of 10 young people (7 women and 3 men) from plague-stricken Florence in 1348. They retire to a rich, well-watered countryside, where, in the course of a fortnight, each member of the party has a turn as king or queen over the others, deciding in detail how their day shall be spent and directing their leisurely walks, their outdoor conversations, their dances and songs, and, above all, their alternate storytelling.This storytelling occupies 10 days of the fortnight (the rest being set aside for personal adornment or for religious devotions); hence the title of the book itself, Decameron, or “Ten Days’ Work.” The stories thus amount to 100 in all. Each of the days, moreover, ends with a canzone (song) for dancing sung by one of the storytellers, and these canzoni include some of Boccaccio’s finest lyric poetry.Between 1348 and 1353, Boccaccio wrote this famous work: The Decameron. The title itself is Greek and means “10 Days” (Deca-hemeron), but the book is written in Italian. The Decameron is a collection of 100 stories, told by ten storytellers over a ten day period of time. Unlike Dante’s Divine Comedy and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, which were written as poetry, Boccaccio’s Decameron is a work in prose.Although the Decameron is primarily known as a humorous work, the frametale and background is very gloomy! In order to explain why 10 people would get together and tell stories to each other every day, Boccaccio invents a frametale about the Black Death (bubonic plague) which was ravaging Florence at the time that he began writing the Decameron.Please continue reading on this most wonderful site:  http://decameronbyboccaccio.blogspot.com/

Author:

"If he's honest, he'll steal; if he's human, he'll murder; if he's faithful, he'll deceive. Being at a loss to resolve these questions, I am resolved to leave them without any resolution." I have so much to say to you that I am afraid I shall tell you nothing."

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