Decameron | LITERATURE


i’ve studied a bit regarding boccaccio in my literary theory paper, so i when i came across his most famous contribution, i knew i had to read it.

the decameron is considered to be one of the greatest italian works and the first novel coming out of the area. the title decameron is a word play signifying the ten days over which the narrative progresses. set in europe at the time of the black plague, seven women and three men congregate and over the course of ten days, narrate a hundred stories. each day, a theme is set by the king or queen – determined by the passing of a laurel wreath – and every member presents such tale revolving around it: thus over the course of one day, there are ten tales narrated.

boccaccio’s tales revolve around the church, fraud, sex, and love and all follow a simple stylistic pattern very evident once one beings to read the text. lady fortune and the wheel of fortune, both prevalent literary tropes of the period, are pivotal in plot progression and enable the application of a homogenizing syntax for all the tales.

it’ taken me a while to read the decameron, simply because each tale is didactic and requires undivided attention. this reading pattern is a continuation of the italian authors i’m reading at the moment: dante and boccaccio were from the same time period. i’m not sure what i’ll be reading next, most probably homer!


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