The Decameron

(1353), Giovanni Boccaccio

Structured as a frame narrative, The Decameron by Italian writer, poet, and scholar Giovanni Boccaccio (1313–75) is a collection of 100 tales. The frame story uniting them is that of 10 young adults—seven women and three men—who flee plague-ridden Florence to an attractive villa in nearby Fiesole. The group decides that every day, each of them should tell a story, resulting in 100 stories over 10 days. Whoever is nominated leader for the day chooses the subject and stipulates rules for the stories to be told. Each day ends with one person singing a canzone or song, while the others dance. The result is a dazzling collection of exquisitely written tales—ranging from stories of tragic love and ...

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