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Decameron Hardcover – 25 Sep 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 696 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman (25 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841593222
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841593227
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 3.7 x 21.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,037,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"The first and definitive diplomatic edition of Boccaccio's holograph MS... From a strictly textual viewpoint, all other editions of The Decameron are now superseded." -- Reference Books in the Humanities

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The Decameron is structured in a frame narrative, or frame tale. Boccaccio begins with a description of the Black Death and a group of seven women and three men who flee from plague-ridden Florence to a villa in the (then) countryside of Fiesole for two weeks. To pass the time, each member of the party tells one story for each one of the nights spent at the villa. Although fourteen days pass, two days each week are set aside; one day for chores and one holy day during which no work is done. In this manner, 100 stories are told by the end of the two weeks

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3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A R Eader on 16 Aug. 2006
Format: Paperback
The Wordsworth Classics are easy to miss and even easier to undervalue. They usually reproduce texts that are out of copyright, which often also means texts that have been superseded by more recently edited texts with better introductions. This volume is different. The text is a revised version of John Payne's 1886 translation of the Decameron. It has exerted a certain fascination amongst Boccaccio scholars: Charles Singleton, the great American medievalist, published an updated version of Payne's translation in 1982 with the University of California Press. But reviews were not entirely positive and complained that for an 'updating' it did not really do enough updating. This Wordsworth edition, edited by Cormac Ó Cuilleanáin (Trinity College Dublin), presents a fresh updating of the text and provides an excellent introduction to the work, its major themes, further reading, an account of the work's 'afterlife', with an explanation of exactly how he went about the process of updating Payne's translation.

The result is highly readable and very enjoyable, and provides a delicately nuanced text that sounds both familiar and unfamiliar at once. Ó Cuilleanáin has expunged what might be described as the 'archaisms' but has managed to retain the spirit and wit in Payne's formality.

I suppose the text will continue to be viewed with a certain novelty value and probably will not become a teaching text, for example, or cited in academic articles. This is a pity because as a translation it has much to recommend itself. As for the introduction, I'd set it as required reading for any undergraduate class on Boccaccio.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By superblues on 2 Oct. 2012
Format: Hardcover
I've enjoyed reading Boccaccio's masterpiece, Decameron, which was translated from the Italian and introduced by J.G.Nichols.

In the summer of 1348, unprecedented plague hit Florence, and 10 of young men and women managed to flee to the countryside. In order to take minds off from the realities, those people decided to provide entertaining stories in the next 10 days, and Boccaccio compiled those stories. Like Canterbury tale by Jeffery Chaucer, Boccaccio listened and wrote several people's tales. Unlike some of the bawdy and humiliating tales in the Canterbury Tale, Boccaccio's disciples provided rather classic and elegant romance and tragic stories with the description of passion, love, lust, wedding, banqueting, deception, and death blending with myth, philosophy, history and everyday life.

While reading Decameron, it reminded me of that the Italian language was born in Florence and they are generally strong Catholic worshippers and devout Christians, and they often imagine the mythical characters when expressing their fondness of their lovers.

This masterpiece gives the readers insight of traditional Italian culture and their way of thinking in terms of passion, love, and lust. It is well worth reading.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Source material for Chaucer, Shakespeare and many more. Some quite bawdy tales but may be a bit unsophisticated for modern tastes.
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