A seminal work of European literature that has inspired writers from Chaucer to Shakespeare, the Penguin Classics edition of Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron is translated with an introduction by G.H. McWilliam. In the summer of 1348, as the Black Death ravages their city, ten young Florentines take refuge in the countryside. Taken from the Greek, meaning ‘ten-day event’, Boccaccio’s Decameron sees his characters amuse themselves by each telling a story a day, for the ten days of their confinement - a hundred stories of love and adventure, life and death, and surprising twists of fate. Less preoccupied with abstract concepts of morality or religion than earthly values, the tales range from the bawdy Peronella, hiding her lover in a tub, to Ser Cepperallo, who, despite his unholy effrontery, becomes a Saint. The result is a towering monument of European literature and a masterpiece of imaginative narrative. This is the second edition of G.H. McWilliam’s acclaimed translation of the Decameron. In his introduction McWilliam illuminates the worlds of Boccaccio and of his storytellers, showing Boccaccio as a master of vivid and exciting prose fiction. Boccaccio (1313-75) was an Italian writer of both verse and prose. He wrote The Decameron over a period of ten years, and is also the author of Teseide and Filostrato. If you enjoyed The Decameron, you might like Dante’s Inferno, also available in Penguin Classics. ‘McWilliam’s finest work, his translation of Boccaccio’s Decameron remains one of the most successful and lauded books in the series’ The Times
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