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The Decameron of Giovanni Boccaccio

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Excerpt: ...together to present her to Frederick, King of Sicily, who was then a young man and delighted in such toys. Accordingly, coming to Palermo ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of The Decameron of Giovanni Boccaccio

Overall customer rating: 5.000
mausy

The Decameron (The Ten Days of Stories)

by mausy on Sep 11, 2008

This wonderful classic might be understood better if compared to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, which was written around the same time period, and is also presented by its author as a collection of tales told by a string of people traveling together, in order to entertain one another and pass the time. Of course the travelers are inventions of two authors. The reason they travel is the overarching difference between these two books. But in both you find a similar lustiness, appetite, vitality and humor in the characters as they regale one another. Boccaccio's travelers, who are relocating from place to place to avoid the plague, seem determined not to sink into crudity in a sensual story, and daily keep up their spirits with refined music and poetry. Chaucer's people on the other hand are far more natural, and bodily functions are a hilarious/necessary part of some of the tales. But when you reflect that Boccaccio's people, young persons who've lost their entire families, have to face an entirely new future after the ravages of the epidemic, their emphasis on slightly artificial refinement is a rather admirable insistence on staying alive, staying whole and healthy -- while not far away, chaos has taken their city from them. Knowing that the author Boccaccio lived through the plague himself enhances my appreciation of the book. Great stories to reread. Some are slightly fable-like, and most involve love and sex. The delicate narrative linking the stories leaves you wondering exactly what the storytellers are actually doing with one another. Hmm!

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