Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron is a true classic which should be read by so many more. It contains 100 short stories, told by a group of ten who has escaped the great plague in the 14th century. Many of the stories are on the topic of love and/or sexual relations, and are told with a great sense of humor. The topic of love is somewhat timeless and even if concepts of "true love", "perfect love" etc are changing throughout our social and cultural history, stories on the topic of love always seems to fascinate us.
Boccaccio cannot be said to be preoccupied with morality or religion, but instead is more concerned with earthly values, and the book of Decameron is described as a "towering monument of European literature and a masterpiece of imaginative narrative" by the publishers of this edition - and it truly is a masterpiece! This freedom from some of the heaviest institutions can also be a reason to why so many can find pleasure in reading him still today, hence the earthly concerns of human have not changed too much since the late middle ages, believe me or not!
The tradition of short stories in this form can be said to start with Boccaccio and he has been followed by many writers. Marguerite de Navarre, queen of Navarre and sister to king Francis I, writes her Heptaméron (1558) as a French version of the Decameron and in the prologue she praises Boccaccio saying that he is admired among the royal family in France. Boccaccio was translated early into several European language and he is still read and regarded today as one of the most important writers in the history of European literature.