Thursday 3 February 2022

Book Review: The Decameron by Boccaccio (Classics)

Title: The Decameron
Author: Boccaccio
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Publication Date: 1995 (1351)
Pages: 1072
Genre: Classics

The Decameron (c.1351) is an entertaining series of one hundred stories written in the wake of the Black Death. The stories are told in a country villa outside the city of Florence by ten young noble men and women who are seeking to escape the ravages of the plague. Boccaccio's skill as a dramatist is masterfully displayed in these vivid portraits of people from all stations in life, with plots that revel in a bewildering variety of human reactions.


I previously had a copy of The Decameron in Italian, but at the time I bought it, it was too advanced for my level, and I never got around to trying it again, so when this English-language copy was offered to me by a friend, I decided it was finally time to give it a read. It is an amusing work overall. Some of the tales appealed to me more than others, naturally, but all had something interesting to offer. The more bawdy ones were definitely the most fun. I'm glad I got around to reading this at last, and I will give it four stars. Don't be put off by the length as, since it's essentially a short story collection, you can dip in and out, reading a few pages at a time as you please.

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