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on 24 June 2012
I am fluent in Italian so I could have also read this in its original language. The English version is absolutely impressive and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in Italian classics. One might easily be tempted into regarding this as fourteenth century pornography but this perhaps just goes on to prove that plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose! We've always been the same I suppose.

One must remember that, in all probability, the style of recording stories by different characters was what gave the idea to Geoffrey Chaucer to write The Canterbury Tales - just to show the extensive influence that medieval Italian literature had on other literatures
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on 1 September 2017
I love these stories, they always make me smile at some point.
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on 28 May 2017
A good, modern edition.
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on 7 March 2017
Fantastic book!
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on 21 January 2013
A masterpiece of the italian literarure... I will never stop loving and reading it, it's full of wisdom and wit.
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on 15 July 2008
This translation of the Decameron is the best I know of currently available. It's ideal not only for students but also for general readers, since Boccaccio is incredibly accessible and enjoyable to read. If you don't know the bawdy tales, it's worth the price of entry just for those. Sheer pleasure to dip into or read straight through.
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on 3 October 2009
The length of this work may seem daunting to some but it is a fantastic book to dip in and out of without it losing any of its integrity or humour. Despite being written in the 14th century, it is full of innuendo and blasphemy and bound to keep any of it's readers entertained for a long time. The notes at the front and back of the Penguin edition are invaluable and I would fully recommend this book to anyone who is considering buying it.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 September 2015
I'm guessing that the best way to read this book is to hole up somewhere, sit in front of a log fire and gobble it down in 10 straight days - maybe 11 with the introduction and the time they take to set off and leave the city. Spreading it out over three months reading, as I did, it becomes a chore and the formulae are stifling: the way each day begins and ends the same way, the exceedingly polite way each storyteller addresses the same listeners on every occasion. For me, the most interesting section is at the start, describing the plague which precipitates the youngle people's departure to a safe country abode for storytelling and play, all very chaste and elegant despite the occasionally bawdy anecdotes. The stories eventually become a bit samey, and the lack of intrusion of the outside world is as I say, stifling. But I took too long to read it.

I disagree with the other reviewers who lamented misogyny in the book: it's true that there are various statements that uphold the old idea of women as the weaker sex, but many more that uphold the old idea of women as the fairier sex too. The ladies propose the trip that brings the party to safety, they devise the format for each day which is rigidly adhered to; there are ample stories of fine ladies outwitting their men, misdirecting suitors, serving up witty ripostes to unseat their interlocutors, and enduring the pride and the caprice of arrogant husbands and whatnot. One must anticipate a Mona Lisa smile on the lips of the ladies whenever they roll off one of those women are weaker, women are less or more whatever, kind of statements. Let's not forget this was the Middle Ages and life was pretty rough.

Obviously a great and important book, but don't take so long as I did.
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on 4 October 2000
A reader from Durham has complained here about the shoddy modern editing, but unfortunately it is unclear which edition (Oxford or Penguin) this refers to. So it should be pointed out that the Penguin edition is amazing - the culmination of a lifetime's work on 'The Decameron' by McWilliam. The footnotes are informative and drily witty, there are maps, a comprehensive index and an introducation that amounts to a book within a book, surely one of the most extensive introductions of any Penguin Classic. All in all a beautiful edition that reads well and is consistently entertaining.
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on 27 December 2010
After reading it and enjoying it the whole time, I must say that Decameron is a book that will entertain you: the tone is light and the stories are all entertaining. It is a book you can easily dip in and out without losing much. Considering the nature of the book, the main characters are all developed well.

The penguin edition is brilliant: it comes with comprehensive notes and heavy introduction.

Fully recommended.
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