2023 Author: Leah Sherlock | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 12:28
The book "The Decameron" by Giovanni Boccaccio is one of the brightest and most famous works of the Early Renaissance in Italy. What this book tells about and how it deserved the love of readers, you can find out from this article.
To the question of the name
"Decameron" is literally translated from ancient Greek as "ten days". Here the author follows the tradition of Greek texts, which came from Ambrose of Milan, dedicated to the theme of the creation of the world in six days - "Six Days". As in similar texts, in the Decameron the title refers directly to the plot. However, unlike medieval treatises, the world is created not by God, but by man, and not in six, but in ten days.
Besides the official title, the book was sub titled "Prince Galeotto" (in Italian, "Galeotto" means "procurer"). It hinted at the opponents of Boccaccio, who argued that the writer undermines the moral foundations of society with his short stories.
History of Creation
It is believed that Boccaccio's Decameron was written in 1348-1351 in Naplesand Florence. The plague of 1349, a very real historical fact used by him in the work, became a peculiar reason and source of inspiration for the writer.
The originally published book became popular not with the intended target audience - the Italian intelligentsia, but with merchants who read the Decameron as a collection of erotic stories. But closer to the 15th century, the work became popular among other segments of the population of Italy, and after that throughout Europe, bringing Boccaccio world fame. Since the invention of printing, The Decameron has become one of the most published books.
The Decameron was listed in the 1559 Index of Forbidden Books as an anti-clerical work. The church immediately condemned the work and its author for many immoral details, which gave rise to Boccaccio's doubts about whether the Decameron had a right to exist. He even planned to burn the original, which Petrarch talked him out of. However, until the end of his days, the writer was ashamed of his brainchild, repenting of its creation.
As the researchers note, Boccaccio in the book "The Decameron" perfected the genre of the short story, giving it features so attractive to the reader - a bright, juicy folk Italian language, interesting images, entertaining plots (which were well known, but sometimes interpreted quite unusual). The focus of the author's attention was on a typical Renaissance problem - the self-consciousness of the individual, therefore the "Decameron"often called "The Human Comedy", by analogy with the famous work of Dante.
Thanks to Boccaccio's new approach, the short story genre became fundamental to the literature of the Italian Renaissance - never before had it flourished, although it existed for a long time.
Summary of Boccaccio's Decameron
Boccaccio's text is curious in structure. It is a "frame" composition with numerous short stories inserted into it. Most of them are devoted to the love theme, which ranges from light eroticism to real tragedies.
The main action takes place in 1348 in Florence, engulfed by the plague. In one of the city's cathedrals, young noble people meet - seven girls and three boys. Together they decide to retire from the city to a remote villa to wait out the epidemic there. Thus, the action is reminiscent of a feast during the plague.
The characters are described as real people, but their names directly match their personalities.
Being out of town, they entertain each other by telling all sorts of stories - these are no longer the original texts of Giovanni Boccaccio, but a variety of fabulous, folklore and religious motifs reworked by him. They are taken from all layers of cultures - these are oriental tales, and the writings of Apuleius, and Italian anecdotes, and French fablios, and moral sermons of priests.
The action takes place over ten days, each of which tells ten short stories. The story itself is preceded by a descriptionpastime of youth - refined and intelligent. In the morning a queen or king of the day is chosen to decide the theme of today's stories, and in the evening one of the ladies sings a ballad summing up the stories. On weekends, young people take a break, so they stay at the villa for two weeks in total, after which they return to Florence.
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