Giovanni Boccaccio


Giovanni Boccaccio The Decameron

Easton Press Giovanni Boccaccio books

The Decameron - 1980

Franklin Library Giovanni Boccaccio books

Stories From The Decameron - Collected Stories of the World's Greatest Writers - 1977
The Decameron - 100 Greatest Books of All Time - 1979


Who was Giovanni Boccaccio?

Giovanni Boccaccio, born in 1313 in Certaldo, Italy, was a renowned Italian writer, poet, and humanist of the Late Middle Ages. His life and work played a significant role in the cultural and literary landscape of Italy during the Renaissance. Boccaccio's early years were marked by a pursuit of knowledge and a love for literature. He received an education in commerce but his passion for the humanities led him to immerse himself in the study of classical literature and philosophy. Boccaccio's intellectual pursuits brought him into contact with some of the leading scholars and thinkers of his time.

One of Boccaccio's most famous works is The Decameron, a collection of one hundred novellas framed within a narrative structure. Written between 1349 and 1353, The Decameron reflects the impact of the Black Death, a devastating pandemic that swept through Europe during the 14th century. The stories, told by a group of young people seeking refuge from the plague, cover a wide range of themes, from love and tragedy to wit and humor. Boccaccio's storytelling prowess and his keen observations of human nature contributed to the enduring popularity of The Decameron. Boccaccio's other notable works include Il Filostrato, an epic poem on the theme of love, and Fiammetta, a prose work exploring themes of passion and romantic love.

In addition to his literary achievements, Boccaccio was an early humanist, advocating for the study of classical texts and promoting a revival of interest in ancient Greek and Roman literature. He played a crucial role in bridging the gap between the medieval and Renaissance periods, contributing to the intellectual and cultural changes that characterized the Italian Renaissance.

About 1340 Giovanni Boccaccio settled in Florence, where he performed various diplomatic services for the government of the city and met the celebrated Italian poet Petrarch, with whom he kept a close friendship until Petrarch, s death in 1374. In 1362 Giovanni Boccaccio was invited to Naples by a friend, who promised him the patronage of Queen Joanne of that city. A cold reception at the Queen's court led him to seek the hospitality of Petrarch, who was then in Venice (1363). Rejecting Patriarch's offer of a home, however, he returned to his Certaldo estate. His last years, in which he turned to religious meditation, were brightened by his appointment as lecturer on the Italian poet Dante Alighieri in Florence in 1373, but his series of lectures was interrupted by illness in 1374. Giovanni Boccaccio passed away on December 21, 1375, in Certaldo, leaving behind a legacy that extends beyond his literary contributions. His influence on Renaissance humanism and his ability to capture the essence of human experience in his storytelling continue to be celebrated, making him a key figure in the evolution of Italian literature and culture.


The Decameron

Giovanni Boccaccio's most important work is the Decameron, written between 1348 and 1353. This witty and high-spirited collection of tales, the first prose masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance, holds a high place in world literature, and has established Giovanni Boccaccio as one of the greatest writers of all time.

The Decameron is a collection of 100 tales by Giovanni Boccaccio written between 1348 and 1353. The frame work for the narrative is provided by a group of friends, seven women and three men, all "well bred, of worth and discretion", who take refuge in the countryside above plague ridden Florence, and entertain each other with a series of anecdotes, told in turn by members of the party. At the end of the hundredth tale, the friends return home.


The Decameron, more than any other of Giovanni Boccaccio's works, establishes his place among the great writers of all time. In it Boccaccio gathers material from all sources including the French fabliaux, the classics, current folklore, and contemporary life. The Decameron has been a storehouse for writers of narrative from Giovanni Boccaccio's era to modern times; hundreds of writers including Chaucer and Shakespeare have drawn from it. The perfection of Giovanni Boccaccio's craftsmanship, likewise, has made his work a model for storytelling.

 

 



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