Myth-Folklore Unit: The Decameron by Boccaccio

Overview. Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron ("The Ten Days") is a lively experiment in storytelling: seven young women and three young men have fled from Florence during the time of the Black Death around the year 1350. Each person tells one story for ten days in a row, resulting in one hundred stories; you will read eight of those stories here. Boccaccio delighted in stories that satirized the lascivious behavior of outwardly pious monks, and three of the stories explore that theme. There are also four love stories, all of them very dramatic... and very tragic. There is also a wisdom tale, a story about the Sultan Saladin and a wise Jew who ponder the relative merits of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, a topic that was of great interest in medieval Europe as it remains so even now, almost seven hundred years later. This translation, which is by J. M. Rigg, has a free audiobook version available too!

Language. This is a modern English translation of Boccaccio which stays very close to Boccaccio in the style and sentence structure. It might feel a bit old-fashioned, but it is also very lively and should not be too difficult to read.

Story Length. This unit contains stories of varying lengths, with single-page stories, along with stories that are two, three, or four pages long.

Navigation. You will find the table of contents below, and you can also use this link to see the story posts displayed on a single page: Decameron.