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Tales from the Decameron of Giovanni Boccaccio
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Tales from the Decameron of Giovanni Boccaccio

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  89 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
1930. The Decameron is a work of broad-sweeping comic views. It was written by Giovanni Boccaccio, an Italian poet and scholar who raised vernacular literature to the status of the classics of antiquity and who prepared for the humanism of the Renaissance. The tales are set in 1348, the year of the Black Death. Florence is a dying, corrupt city, described plainly in all of ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published June 1st 2005 by Kessinger Publishing (first published January 1st 1930)
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Robert Tostevin
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blogged
The complete Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio, set in 1348, consists of 100 stories told by 10 people to each other over an imaginary 10 day period whilst they seek refuge from the plague ravaging Florence. This book takes 32 of those stories for re-telling.

Reading a 14th century classic, originally written in Italian, means that the translator is always going to be key.

I found Peter Hainsworth's translation on the whole very readable. Being so old you can expect the writing styles of 650 years a
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With 100 stories, not all are going to please everyone, and the author knows it. He himself makes his apologia in the conclusion, explaining how "No field was ever so well cultivated that it contained no nettles, briars and thorns mingled with better plants." Some of the tales are incredibly bawdy, and Boccaccio seems sheepish about having included them; others are anticlerical, but he seems to revel in his achievement there.
The 1930 translation by Richard Aldington (d.1962) is brisk. Far more
Jul 23, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a Pocketbook edition published in 1947. It is based on a translation made in 1741. I think because of the idiosyncrasies of the translation and resulting syntax, this was very slow reading. I enjoyed the stories, as I knew I would, and I very much like the art deco-style illustrations by Mac Harshberger, a well known illustrator of the era.
This was just a bunch of short stories, mostly about cheating and nuns/priests having sex. I did not like the last story, the husband was emotionally abusing Griselda.

This is why I have just a hard time with older classics. I keep having to remind myself that I may not like the things that happen, but this is how it was back then.
Erik Graff
May 03, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Renaissance literature fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: literature
Madison Street west of Chicago's Loop was a run-down area when I was a kid, but it had some good used bookstores. I'd been travelling by bus and train to the Loop since junior high, often with friends to see a movie at one of the big theatres, but increasingly as I aged to go to the bookstores. It was in one of them, a cavernous place, that I picked this title up, having heard of Boccaccio in reference to Chaucer.

Being a poor kid and having only the money I could earn from doing extraordinary wo
Apr 05, 2010 added it
Shelves: read-in-2010
Had to read a few selections for my Great Books class. Not as bad as I expected it to be (come on, this came right after The Song of Roland, and I was starting to give up on the class!). I wouldn't mind coming back to read more of this.
Sep 26, 2008 marked it as to-read
(my edition is from 1948, edited by Herbert Alexander, and stinks of my uncle's cigarettes-- but I'm trying to get through it!)
Patricia Draper
This is a classic known to many people but probably not read. Stores date from 13th Century and are surprisingly fresh and modern. Most editions retain archaic English which adds to the interest.
Nov 26, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interessant, aber ab einem gewissen Punkt anstrengend zu lesen (sehr vorraussehbare Geschichten) und trotz des Alters wohl eher der Unterhaltungsliteratur zuzuordnen.
Portia Andrew
Dec 28, 2015 rated it liked it
These are fascinating tales from the years of early Renaissance Italy and the time of Black Death. Perhaps Chaucer took the form of this work for his own Canterbury Tales.
May 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
This is a great read along the lines of Canterberry tales but be warned some of the stories are very naughty
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Giovanni Boccaccio (1313 – 21 December 1375) was an Italian author and poet, a friend and correspondent of Petrarch, and an important Renaissance humanist in his own right and author of a number of notable works including the Decameron, On Famous Women, and his poetry in the Italian vernacular. Boccaccio is particularly notable for his dialogue, of which it has been said that it surpasses in veris ...more