About the Decameron

The Decameron is a medieval text written some time between 1348 and 1351. It is set in Florence, Italy in the 14th century and follows ten friends who flee to the countryside in order to escape the plague. These ten young adults each tell one story for ten days for a total of one hundred stories in the text. The subjects of these stories range from love and heroism to crime and deceit and while the text seems to have questionable morals at times, it can teach readers and listeners alike to avoid the shortcomings of the characters in the novellas when they fall into various predicaments. Seven of the storytellers are female and three are male. One of the males, Dioneo, is known to arguably tell the most erotic and amoral stories and is typically the last storyteller throughout the text. Additionally, some of the female storytellers relay stories that feature other women who seem to stray from traditional gender roles of the medieval era. The Decameron is known to be intended for women readers so this may explain the characters who do not adhere to traditional gender roles.

About the Author

Giovanni Boccaccio is the author of the Decameron. He was born in the summer of 1313 to a merchant father, Boccaccino di Chellino, and an unknown mother. While learning to read and write, it was clear he had a deep interest in literature but he was made to study canon law when he got older. He lived most of his childhood in Florence, but later moved to Paris with his father in his twenties. In Paris, Boccaccio delved more into poetry and literature, writing a number of books and poems. In 1341, Boccaccio returned to Florence where the Plague had been greatly affecting the area. In 1348, his father and stepmother died as a result, leaving him the heir of their fortune. In the years following, Boccaccio began to write the Decameron.

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