Bawdy and moving, hilarious and reflective: these stories offer the very best of Boccaccio's Decameron-the inspiration for the new film The Little Hours-in a brilliant, playful new translation
In the early summer of the year 1348, as a terrible plague ravages the city, ten charming young Florentines take refuge in country villas to tell each other stories-one hundred stories of love, adventure, and surprising twists of fortune that later inspired Chaucer, Keats, and Shakespeare. Now, this hugely enjoyable volume collects the best stories of Boccaccio's masterwork in a fresh, accessible new translation by Peter Hainsworth. It includes such celebrated, thought-provoking tales as "Isabella and the Pot of Basil" (famously adapted by Keats) and "Patient Griselda" alongside many boisterous and daring stories featuring faithless wives, philandering priests, and curious nuns. Written in an early Florentine dialect and influencing scores of literature that followed, The Decameron is a masterpiece of classical Italian prose.
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Boccaccio was born in Florence in 1313. He later moved to Naples, where he became part of the circle at court and started writing books. In 1348, he witnessed the plague in Florence, which killed half the city's population and would become the backdrop to his masterpiece,The Decameron. In later life he befriended the poet Petrarch, who left to him in his will an ermine robe to keep him warm when studying on winter nights. Boccaccio died in 1375.