The Decameron – a bawdy path to chastity

author : Giovanni Boccaccio

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A book that have influenced writers and entertained readers for more than six centuries

This first great masterpiece of European storytelling, was written in Florence by Giovanni Boccaccio (1313 – 1375), an Italian poet and Renaissance Humanist. He probably conceived the book during the Black Death (Black Plague), which struck Florence in 1348, and completed it by 1353.

Decameron, named from the Greek word for “ten days”, and composed of 100 novellas told by ten men and women during a ten-day journey fleeing plague-infested Florence. An allegorical work famous for its bawdy portrayals of everyday life, its searing wit and mockery, and its careful adherence to a framed structure. In the short stories of Boccaccio’s the reader immediately feels there is more talk of lust and craving than of love and yet psychological subtlety, it is apparent on every page of it. The stories are drawn from Italy, Arabic and Persian literature, written in a language caustic, satirical, without sentiment.

despite the six hundred years of the ten-story stories they feel, they are as modern and eternal as the human kindness and rudeness they describe.

Illustrations are from the Garden City Press editon, NY (1949)
artist :Rockwell Kent




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