The Decameron

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The Decameron


Born in 1313, Giovanni Boccaccio is one of the greatest figures in Italian Literature. He was born in Paris, France by a French woman who remains unknown, but on many occasion he speaks very highly of her. His father is an Italian; they are part of the middle class. As for their professional status, they were Merchants / Bankers. Although, Bocaccio was born out of wedlock, his father legitimized him and took him to his house, provided him with a family and a good education.

In 1340 Boccaccio moved to Florence where he meets Petrarch in 1350, his mentor. He began study Greek and Roman Classics. During 1339 to 1351 he writes The Decameron one of the most noted and readable book in all literature. It is believed that he completes the first draft of The Decameron before he met Petrarch in 1350. Somehow the meeting with Petrarch changed Boccaccio’s Literature development. What he admires the most about Petrarch is his scholar and the humanist. With such influence Boccaccio withdraw from writing about romance, and preferably writes in Latin. He was an ambassador to different mission; Boccaccio did some community work while he was intensely involved in literature and his school activity.

After traveling in different part of Europe, Boccaccio returns to Certaldo where he becomes very sick. In the fall of 1374 he receives the terrible news from Petrach’s son-in-law, to let him know that his best friend passed. He was devastated, became depressed and died the following year.


This love story is about a rich, young girl that falls in love with a young man of a low social status. Ellisabetta is young, beautiful and lives in Mess...

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...l of this just to keep a secret that ends up coming out anyway. This just proves the old saying, "What is done in the dark will come to light."

Cottino-Jones sums up love and the community in this story in her book. She says, "the lovers in this books are constantly faced with violence, death and isolation when their affairs come into conflict with society’s rigid behavior codes "(Cottino-Jones, 79). Lack of communication and social factors made everyone in the story unhappy or dead.


Boccaccio, Giovanni. The Decameron. Translated by Mark Musa & Peter Bondanella. Penguin-Mentor,


Cottino-James, Marga. Order From Chaos: Social & Aesthetic Harmonies In Boccaccio’s Decameron.

Washington D. C.: University Press, 1982.

Decameron Web. (1999, July 6).

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