A desire to escape the horrors of the city prompts a group of ten young people seven women and three men to retreat to a country villa. There, they amuse themselves by telling each other stories.
Hodder and Stoughton, And this is really the quality that divides him substantially from the ecstatic Dante and the ecstatic Petrarch.
Boccaccio is all on the surface of life, among the pleasures and idlenesses and vicissitudes of everyday existence, and these are enough for him, he is busy and satisfied.
Life rises to the surface, and is smoothed down, made attractive. The world of the spirit makes its exit; the world of Nature comes in. This world of Nature, empty and superficial, devoid of all the inner powers of the spirit, has no seriousness at all of means or of end. The thing that moves it is instinct—natural inclination; no longer God or science, and no longer the unifying love Boccaccios decameron intellect and act, the great basis of the Middle Ages: The author introduces us to a merry gathering of men and women who are trying to forget the ills and tedium of life by passing the warm hours of the day in Boccaccios decameron story-telling.
It was the time of the plague, and men faced by death on every side felt that all the restraints of life were loosened, and gave themselves up to the carnival of the imagination. Boccaccio had had experience of carnivals at the court where the happiest days of his life were spent, and his imagination had taken its colour from that dungheap on which the Muses and the Graces had lavished so many flowers.
In the Ameto, the pastoral Decameron, we have a similar gathering of people. But the stories in the Ameto are allegorical, so are preordained to an abstract ending. Though the poem has nothing of the spirit of the Divine Comedy, it is built on its skeleton. And the characters, evoked from so many different people and so many different epochs, here are all of the same world, the external world of tranquil thoughtlessness.
In this care-free world of the Decameron events are left to take care of themselves, the results being decided Boccaccios decameron chance.
God and Providence are acknowledged by name, almost by a sort of tacit agreement, in the words of people who have sunk into complete religious, political, and moral indifference. It is a new form of the marvellous, no longer caused by the penetration into human life of ultra-natural forces, such as visions and miracles, but by a curious conflux of fortuitous events that no one could have possibly foreseen or controlled.
We are left with the feeling that the ruler of the world, the deus ex machina, is chance; we see it in the varied play of the inclinations of these people, all of them ruled by the changing chances of life.
Since the machinery, the moving force of the stories, is the marvellous, the fortuitous, the unexpected, it follows that their interest does not lie in the morality of the actions, but in the strangeness of their causes and effects.
Not that Boccaccio rejects morality or alters the ordinary ideas of right and wrong; it is only that questions of morality do not happen to be the questions that interest him. A famous instance is the story of the patient Griselda, the most virtuous of all the characters of the book.
|Giovanni Boccaccio | Italian poet and scholar | srmvision.com||In the same year, it appears from some documents the Parisian livre de la Taille, a sort of tax and fee ledger that Boccaccino and his brother were in Paris for business, lodging near the church of Saint-Jacques-la-Boucherie. As the scion however illegitimate of a prominent and prosperous citizen of Florence, Giovanni receives a sound education:|
|Boccaccio's Life and Works||Each agrees to tell one story each day for ten days.|
|See a Problem?||Boccaccio was the son of a Tuscan merchant, Boccaccio di Chellino called Boccaccinoand a mother who was probably French. He passed his early childhood rather unhappily in Florence.|
|The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio||Each agrees to tell one story each day for ten days.|
|It is a detailed description of life in the middle agesspecifically the effects of the Black Death or Bubonic Plague. I say, then, that the years of the beatific incarnation of the Son of God had reached the tale of one thousand three hundred and forty-eight when in the illustrious city of Florence, the fairest of all the cities of Italy, there made its appearance that deadly pestilence, which, whether disseminated by the influence of the celestial bodies, or sent upon us mortals by God in His just wrath by way of retribution for our iniquities, had had its origin some years before in the East, whence, after destroying an innumerable multitude of living beings, it had propagated itself without respite from place to place, and so, calamitously, had spread into the West.|
To prove that she is a good and faithful wife she suffocates every natural feeling of a woman, and her own personality, and her free will. The author, in trying to show an extraordinary example of virtue that will strike the imagination of his readers, has fallen into the very mysticism he dislikes, and makes use of it by placing the ideal of feminine virtue in the abnegation of self, exactly like the theologians, who teach that flesh is absorbed by spirit, and spirit by God.
It is a sort of sacrifice of Abraham, except that here it is the husband who puts Nature so cruelly to the test. And the virtue in the stories of Tito and Gisippo is proved by such strange and out-of-the-way happenings that instead of charming us as an example it only amazes us as a miracle.
But extraordinary and spectacular virtue is rare in the tales; the virtue is generally the traditional virtue of chivalric and feudal times—a certain generosity and kindliness of kings and princes and marquises, reminiscences of chivalric and heroic tales in bourgeois times.
A much-praised person is Charles I of Anjou who, instead of seizing and raping two beautiful girls, daughters of a Ghibelline, who had fallen into his power, preferred to dower them magnificently and find them husbands.
These powerful nobles were virtuous because they did not misuse their power, but behaved instead in a liberal and courteous manner.
And already a class of literati was arising who lived at the expense of this virtue, feeding on its bounty and extolling it in fair exchange. But the heroic age was past. Petrarch allowed his Maecenas to provide for him and support him, and Boccaccio lived on the refuse of the court of Naples, comically enraged when the provision struck him as not up to standard, and disposed to panegryic or satire according to whether the food was good or bad.
Strictly speaking, of course, this virtue is not morality; but at least it is a sense of nice behaviour, which makes the habits of the day more agreeable, takes from virtue that theological and mystical character connected with abstinence and suffering, and gives it a pleasing appearance, in keeping with a cultured and gay society.
It is true that the chance which ruled the lives of these people played them many a trick, and the pervading gaiety, the charming serenity, were often disturbed by some sad event.
If we look more deeply into these questions of joy and sorrow, we shall see that the joy has very few chords; the joy would be level and dull, and no longer joyous as is often the case with idyllic poemsexcept that pain pierces into it—pain with its richer and more varied harmonies, and its living passions of love, jealousy, contempt, indignation.
Pain is here not for its own sake, but as a seasoner of joy; it is here to enliven the spirit, to keep it in suspense, to excite it—until kindly fortune, or chance, shall suddenly make the sun to shine again.
In that world of Nature and love pain is a tragic apparition that flits past. The tragedy turns on the point of honour. But his daughter justifies her love by quoting the laws of Nature, and says that true nobility comes from worth and not from blood.
But indeed, we pity the father and daughter equally—the high-souled father and the human and tender-hearted daughter; both are victims of the society they belong to, and neither has sinned.Giovanni Boccaccio, (born , Paris, Fr.—died Dec.
21, , Certaldo, Tuscany [Italy]), Italian poet and scholar, best remembered as the author of the earthy tales in the Decameron. With Petrarch he laid the foundations for the humanism of the Renaissance and raised vernacular literature to the level and status of the classics of antiquity.
Boccaccio's The Decameron The following excerpt is taken from Boccaccio's The Decameron. It is a detailed description of life in the middle ages, specifically . Boccaccio is born (July or August) Composition of the Decameron. These () are in fact the years of the Decameron and we know very little about them.
We know that Giovanni was briefly back in Ravenna in , this time on a special mission from the compagnia of Or San Michele: to give suor Beatrice (Dante's daughter, a nun in the. Note: In Boccaccio's day, chapter titles were really just brief descriptions of the chapter's content.
(Remember those "Friends" episodes like "The One Where Chandler Can't Remember Which . Il Decamerone = The Decameron, Giovanni Boccacccio The Decameron is a collection of novellas by the 14th-century Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio (–)/5.
Giovanni Boccaccio, (born , Paris, Fr.—died Dec.
21, , Certaldo, Tuscany [Italy]), Italian poet and scholar, best remembered as the author of the earthy tales in the Decameron.
With Petrarch he laid the foundations for the humanism of the Renaissance and raised vernacular literature to the level and status of the classics of antiquity.