The Decameron

  • by Giovanni Boccaccio
  • Narrated by Frederick Davidson
  • 30 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Giovanni Boccaccio, Dante, and Petrarch were the leading lights in a century that is considered the beginning of the Italian Renaissance. The Decameron, or Ten Days' Entertainment, is his most famous work, a collection of stories considered representative of the Middle Ages, as well as a product of the Renaissance. This collection of tales is set in 1348, the year of the Black Death. Florence is a dying, corrupt city, described plainly in all of its horrors. Seven ladies and three gentlemen meet in a church and decide to escape from the charnel house of reality by staying in the hills of Fiesole; there they pass the time telling stories for 10 days.They set up a working arrangement whereby each would be king or queen for a day; each day the ruler commanded a story be told following certain stipulations. Their existence is that of the enchanted medieval dreamworld: a paradise of flowers, ever-flowing fountains, shade trees, soft breezes, where all luxuries of food and drink abound. Virtue reigns along with medieval gentilesse in its finest sense. The stories they weave, however, differ from their own idyllic sojourn. They tell tales about ordinary people, tales marked by intense realism in a world where dreams and enchanted gardens have little place. Boccaccio draws on the actual geography of the region to bring the stories alive; different social classes are portrayed with their own language and clothing. Within the stories told by his 10 refugees from Florence, the satire often bites deep, Boccaccio's comic mood embracing evil and holiness alike with sympathy and tolerance. Like Chaucer, he is indulgent, exposing moral and social corruption but leaving guilty characters to condemn themselves. In its frank, open-minded treatment of flesh as flesh, its use of paradox, cynicism, and realistic handling of character, this work transcends the medieval period and, going beyond the Renaissance, takes its place as universal art.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Everyone is dying: Let's bawdy!

Like 'The Canterbury Tales', 'The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman', 'The Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights', etc., 'The Decameron' is an early masterpiece of European literature. It is one of those books I've previously avoided because I thought it would be stilted and boring. Hells NASTY Bells was I wrong. Boccaccio is funny, flippant, irreverent, libidinous, provocative, inspiring, insulting, crazy and always -- always entertaining.

100 stories told during the the summer of 1348 as the Black Death is ravaging Florence (and Europe). Ten aristocratic youths take to the country to escape the death, stink and bodies of the City and to hang out and amuse themselves on stories of love and adventure and sex and trickery. Bad priests, evil princes, saints, sinners, and various twists and turns paints a detailed picture of Italy from over 660 years ago that seems just as modern and funky as today. Things have certainly changed, but lords and ladies it is incredible just how many things have stayed the same.
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- Darwin8u "I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^"

The Decameron???

A classic selection of droll stories, gets monotonous at times but becomes a nice loooong quiet read and is interesting enough for dusty old literature. However, beware... as my title expresses; the narrator whilst reading in a nice crisp British accent puts cadence and stresses on all the wrong words, running sentences together and most annoyingly asking a question of every single line, sometimes twice in a line by using a question instead of a comma. It gets really irksome and quite nearly ruins the lyrical effect of the already difficult to follow text. Its actually the reason why I keep shutting it in exasperation and head to something easier to listen to. But the content is good and slowly I'll work through it.
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- Wendy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-22-2006
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.