Renaissance and Reformation Giovanni Boccaccio
by
Jason Houston
  • LAST REVIEWED: 10 March 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 June 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195399301-0203

Introduction

Giovanni Boccaccio (b. 1313–d. 1375), along with the two other great Florentine writers, Dante Alighieri and Francesco Petrarch, is one of the Three Crowns of Italian literature. His vast body of poetic and prose works represents a great variety of classical and medieval literary genres. Boccaccio was acutely aware of his position as mediator between different cultures—classical and medieval; Italian, French, and Latin; and Christian and pagan—and thus he stands as an important figure in the development of a European humanist literary culture that defines the Renaissance and beyond. Although his Latin encyclopedic works were his most important and influential works for centuries, modern audiences, both scholarly and otherwise, have made the Decameron Boccaccio’s most read text. Italian, German, and French scholars made the first critical editions of Boccaccio in the late 19th century. Italian scholars, primarily Vittore Branca but also others, renewed efforts to create authoritative critical editions in the late 20th century. Italian criticism of Boccaccio remains mostly philological, with important exceptions. North American scholars of Boccaccio have focused on the Decameron. The late 20th century saw great interest in Boccaccio’s early vernacular works, primarily in North America. American critics have read Boccaccio in light of new critical categories, particularly feminism and Mediterranean studies, although more-recent critical attention has shifted back to Boccaccio’s Latin texts in order to illuminate his intellectual contributions to the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. The 700th centenary of his birth in 2013 saw a number of publications in which a range of scholars considered Boccaccio’s influence across genre and period. Besides his writings, Boccaccio was an important figure in the creation of an Italian literary tradition, promoting the poetic importance both of Dante and Petrarch.

Biographies

Branca 1977 remains the most detailed and comprehensive biography of Boccaccio available, introducing documentary evidence to supplement Boccaccio’s own biographical details from his letters. Bergin 1981 offers an overview of Boccaccio’s life, generally organized around his literary works. Branca 1976 translates (into English) parts of his biography and scholarship from his other works; this book is the best resource for English readers without proficiency in Italian.

  • Bergin, Thomas G. Boccaccio. New York: Viking, 1981.

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    This book presents a general introduction to the study of Boccaccio, with a significant chapter of biographical material. The book is written for a general audience but gives useful information, even for scholars of Boccaccio.

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  • Branca, Vittore. Boccaccio: The Man and His Works. Translated by Richard Monges. Cotranslated and edited by Dennis J. McAuliffe. Forward by Robert C. Clements. New York: New York University Press, 1976.

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    A compendium translation including portions of two of Branca’s books: Giovanni Boccaccio: Profilo biografico (Branca 1977) and Boccaccio medievale (Florence: G. C. Sansoni, 1991). The first book of the volume contains portions of the biographic work (1977), and the second book of the volume contains a portion of the general study (1991). Throughout the volume, citations from Latin are not translated; the Italian texts are translated into English.

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  • Branca, Vittore. Giovanni Boccaccio: Profilo biografico. La Civilità Europea. Florence: G. C. Sansoni, 1977.

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    The standard biography of Boccaccio. Branca traces a chronological narrative of Boccaccio’s life, relying not only on Boccaccio’s own writings but also on documentary sources. Branca pays particular attention to Boccaccio’s political activity, friendship with Petrarch and his circle in Florence, and his youth in Naples. Citations in Latin are not translated into Italian.

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Bibliographies

Branca 1939 began the author’s long career as the most important scholar of Giovanni Boccaccio; it is still a valuable resource for surveying early Boccaccio editions and criticism. Vittore Branca continued cataloguing new scholarship on Boccaccio, mostly Italian and Continental European, with collaboration, first in Branca and Padoan 1963 and then in Esposito 1976. Consoli 1992 remains the most exhaustive and useful of the available bibliographies. Christopher Kleinhenz (Kleinhenz 2003; later versions in collaboration with Elsa Filosa) has kept up with North American criticism, which makes his work particularly useful for English-speaking readers.

  • Branca, Vittore. Linee di una storia della critica al “Decameron”: Con bibliografia boccaccesca completamente aggiornata. Milan: Società Anonima Editrice Dante Alighieri, 1939.

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    Begins with a narrative description of the critical reception of the Decameron from the earliest humanist readers in the 15th century to the 1930s. Second part of the book provides a detailed chronological list of editions and criticism of the Decameron.

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  • Branca, Vittore, and Giorgio Padoan. “Bolletino bibliografico.” Studi sul Boccaccio 1 (1963): 445–516.

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    In the first volume of the first journal dedicated to Boccaccio, the cofounders update Branca’s earlier bibliography from the 1930s to the 1960s. This bulletin provides bibliography of editions, translations, and critical studies of all of Boccaccio’s works. The bulletin appears regularly up to Vol. 28, except for Vols. 18, 22, 25, and 27.

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  • Consoli, Joseph P. Giovanni Boccaccio: An Annotated Bibliography. Garland Medieval Bibliographies 9. New York: Garland, 1992.

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    The most useful bibliography for students and scholars of Boccaccio. The volume covers 1939–1986, beginning after Branca’s previous bibliography (Branca 1939). Provides annotations for thousands of entries but does not include editions or translations. Contains two indexes: critics and subjects.

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  • Esposito, Enzo. Boccacciana: Bibliografia delle edizioni e degli scritti critici (1939–1974). Bibliografia e Storia della Critica 2. Ravenna, Italy: Longo Editore, 1976.

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    Esposito took over the “Bolletino bibliografico” in Studi sul Boccaccio from Branca and Padoan and gathered his bibliography in this volume. The volume begins with editions of Boccaccio’s works then moves to a chronological list of scholarly studies, without annotations.

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  • Kleinhenz, Christopher, comp. “North American Boccaccio Bibliography (1985–2000).” Heliotropia 1.1 (2003).

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    Continued in Heliotropia 2.1 (2004), with “North American Boccaccio Bibliography (2001)”; 2.2 (2004), with “North American Boccaccio Bibliography (2002–04)”; 6.1–2 (2009), with “American Boccaccio Bibliography for 2005–2008”; and 7.1–2 (2010), with “American Boccaccio Bibliography for 2009,” the last two issues compiled with Elsa Filosa. Occasional updates on critical studies and translations of Boccaccio published by scholars working in North America. Includes bibliographies on reviews on critical works that deal, even in part, with Boccaccio. Available online.

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Editions

Thanks to the efforts of Vittore Branca and his colleagues who contributed, Boccaccio has a standard edition for almost all his works—major and minor, Latin and Italian. Branca published the series of volumes that make up Tutte le opere di Giovanni Boccaccio over a thirty-four-year period (Branca 1964–1998), but the individual editions contained therein maintain consistency of format and quality. Two of the originally projected volumes, which were to have included Boccaccio’s volgarizzamenti in one and his glosses and fragmentary writings in the other, have yet to be published. Mondadori reprinted in paperback many of the vernacular texts. Branca’s edition of the Decameron (Branca 1992) includes altered notes, added bibliography, and a few textual corrections. Amedeo Quondam and colleagues’ edition of the Decameron (Quondam, et al. 2013) offers some new philological evidence and interpretive analysis, but, like the many other editions of the Decameron put forth, does not overtake Branca’s. Charles Singleton’s diplomatic edition of Boccaccio’s autograph (Singleton 1974) can be useful for scholars looking at Boccaccio’s linguistic variation.

  • Branca, Vittore, ed. Tutte le opere di Giovanni Boccaccio. 10 vols. Milan: Mondadori, 1964–1998.

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    This series of critical editions, although long in completion, represents the single most important contribution to Boccaccio studies in centuries. The series contains expert critical editions of every one of Boccaccio’s works. The individual editors provide translations of the text when originally in Latin or, in one case, when in Neapolitan. The apparatus details issues of textual transmission as well as offers interpretive assistance.

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  • Branca, Vittore, ed. Decameron (Sesta edizione riveduta e corretta, aggiornata nelle bibliografie al 1991). 2 vols. New ed. Einaudi Tascabili 99. Torino, Italy: Einaudi, 1992.

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    This is the current standard edition, with significant changes from the earlier edition previously published as part of the general series. Branca has updated the bibliography, refined his footnotes, and corrected the text in a few places.

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  • Quondam, Amedeo, Maurizio Fiorilla, and Giancarlo Alfano, eds. Decameron. Classici della BUR. Milan: BUR Rizzoli, 2013.

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    Fiorilla’s critical edition of the Decameron relies on Boccaccio’s autograph manuscript of the Decameron, bypassing the question of the different “versions.” Quondam’s notes deemphasize Branca’s insistence on the Decameron as a “mercantile epic.” Alfano’s introductions summarize the themes of each day. The editors explicitly intend this edition for Italian university students.

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  • Singleton, Charles S., ed. Decameron: Edizione diplomatico-interpretativa dell’autografo Hamilton 90. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974.

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    A diplomatic edition of the Decameron, on the basis of the holograph manuscript of the Decameron, Berlin Staatsbibliothek, Hamilton 90. The text is shaded where the original text has interpolations and corrections by subsequent scribes, so that the reader can understand where the text might not be Boccaccio’s. This rich volume includes three foldout facsimile reproductions of the manuscript.

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Manuscripts

Boccaccio was acutely aware of the role that scribes and copyists played in the transmission of literary works, since he himself was an active scribe of his own words and a copyist of others. Auzzas 1973 catalogues the manuscripts written or copied by Boccaccio and is a starting point for understanding Boccaccio’s relationship to textual practices of his day. De Robertis 1974, a facsimile edition of Boccaccio’s most famous product as a scribe and copyist, allows readers access to this valuable manuscript. Eisner 2013 puts this manuscript under renewed study. Vittore Branca has provided the basis for understanding the reception and transmission of all of Boccaccio’s works, first in the strict terms of textual production (Branca 1958–1991) and in the varied culture of the image in Renaissance and early modern Europe (Branca 1999). Ricci 1985 offers philological details about the early transmission history of many of Boccaccio’s early works, and Cursi 2007 challenges Branca’s conclusions about the early diffusion of the Decameron, while offering more-detailed evaluation of some important manuscripts. Daniels 2009 widens consideration outside of the Decameron, as well as methodologically by looking at manuscripts and books as text objects of material culture. Picone and Cazalé Bérard 1998 catalogues and describes Boccaccio’s two zibaldoni.

  • Auzzas, Ginetta. “Elenco bibliografia dei codici autografi.” Studi sul Boccaccio 7 (1973): 1–20.

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    After a very brief introduction, Auzzas provides a list and bibliography of every known autograph manuscript by Boccaccio. She limits her descriptions of the manuscripts to their shelf number, date, limited codicological measurements, and contents. She accompanies each entry with a bibliography pertaining to that manuscript.

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  • Branca, Vittore. Tradizione delle opere di Giovanni Boccaccio. 2 vols. Storia e Letteratura 66. Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 1958–1991.

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    Vol. 1 contains a detailed catalogue and description of the thousands of manuscripts, both extant and missing, of all of Boccaccio’s works. The second volume provides an updated list of manuscripts (over five hundred new entries), a major piece of scholarship concerning the early transmission of the Decameron (“Parte seconda”), and some notes on the Rime, Filostrato, Teseida, and Amorosa visione.

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  • Branca, Vittore, ed. Boccaccio visualizzato: Narrare per parole e per immagini fra Medioevo e Rinascimento. 3 vols. Biblioteca di Storia dell’Arte 30. Turin, Italy: Einaudi, 1999.

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    Working with a large team of art historians, historians, literary historians, and others, Branca collects together in these three volumes thousands of images in manuscripts of Boccaccio’s works, art influenced by Boccaccio’s works, and portraits of Boccaccio in Europe. This work is a monumental resource for scholars of Boccaccio, for art historians, and for scholars of the history of the book.

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  • Cursi, Marco. Il Decameron: Scritture, scriventi, lettori; Storia di un testo. Scritture e Libri del Medioevo 5. Rome: Viella, 2007.

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    Cursi’s important study challenges some conclusions about the early diffusion, readership, and transmission of the Decameron. Through a thorough reconsideration of the early manuscript evidence, Cursi finds that the transmission was more varied than Branca had argued. The volume contains rich resources, including new list of manuscripts of the Decameron, one hundred photographic plates, and a bibliography.

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  • Daniels, Rhiannon. Boccaccio and the Book: Production and Reading in Italy, 1340–1520. Italian Perspectives 19. London: Legenda, 2009.

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    Daniels looks at the production and reception of three of Boccaccio’s works (Teseida, Decameron, and De mulieribus claris), considering manuscripts and then printed books from 1340 to 1520. The author adopts a “book-historical” approach, considering her sources as text objects and thereby opening her analysis to material beyond traditional philological methods.

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  • De Robertis, Domenico, ed. Il codice Chigiano L.V. 176: Autografo di Giovanni Boccaccio. Codices e Vaticanis Selecti 37. Rome: Archivi Edizioni, 1974.

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    A complete color facsimile of the “Chigi” manuscript copied by Boccaccio. The manuscript includes Boccaccio’s copy of the La vita nuova, Guido Cavalcanti’s Donna me prega, a version of Petrarch’s Canzoniere, fifteen of Dante’s poems, and Boccaccio’s second redaction of the Trattatello in laude di Dante. De Robertis also provides an introduction.

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  • Eisner, Martin. Boccaccio and the Invention of Italian Literature: Dante, Petrarch, Cavalcanti, and the Authority of the Vernacular. Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature 87. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781107300484Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study looks at Boccaccio’s Chigi L V 176 manuscript as an important moment in the history of Italian literature, where he authorizes the vernacular literary tradition by including his own works with those of Dante, Petrarch, and Cavalcanti. The author uses the methodological tools of material philology to reconsider Boccaccio’s intention with compiling this manuscript.

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  • Picone, Michelangelo, and Claude Cazalé Bérard, eds. Gli zibaldoni di Boccaccio: Memoria, scrittura, riscrittura; Atti del seminario internazionale di Firenze-Certaldo, 26–28 aprile 1996. Florence: Cesati, 1998.

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    This volume contains essays that discuss Boccaccio’s two zibaldoni (commonplace books). Some essays describe the contents of the two large and varied manuscripts, while other essays offer philological evidence for dating and identifying the texts contained therein.

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  • Ricci, Pier Giorgio. Studi sulla vita e le opere di Boccaccio. Milan: Riccardo Ricciardi Editore, 1985.

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    A collection of essays in five sections, many of which were previously published, mostly detailing philological issues surrounding Boccaccio’s works. The author organizes the volume into five sections, although the organizing principle of the sections is not immediately apparent. The minor works, in Latin and Italian, are well represented, with only two of the over twenty articles on the Decameron.

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General Criticism

Billanovich 1947 represents the modern study of Boccaccio’s literary career, turning away from the earlier emphasis on Boccaccio as an autobiographical author. Branca 1996 contextualizes Boccaccio’s literary career within the intellectual and historical realities of trecento Italy. Giorgio Padoan, a student of Vittore Branca’s, focuses on the later works of Boccaccio (Padoan 1978), placing Boccaccio in close relationship to his literary contemporaries, particularly Petrarch. Bruni 1990 defines Boccaccio’s contribution to the formation of a “middle” category of literature, and Kirkham 1993 relates Boccaccio’s writings to the philosophical tradition. Battaglia Ricci 2000 updates and expands Branca’s notions of Boccaccio in historical context. Gittes 2008 takes a broad view of Boccaccio’s intellectual innovation as mediator between classical and Christian concepts of history and myth.

  • Battaglia Ricci, Lucia. Boccaccio. Sestante 3. Rome: Salerno Editrice, 2000.

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    An expansion of her entry “Boccaccio” for the encyclopedic Storia della letteratura italiana (Rome: Salerno Editrice, 1995), this volume takes its point of departure from Branca’s Boccaccio medievale (Branca 1996), while updating the reader on philological developments. The volume begins with four chapters that present Boccaccio’s life and his intellectual context. The remaining eleven chapters discuss, in more or less detail, his entire corpus.

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  • Billanovich, Giuseppe. Restauri boccacceschi. Storia e Letteratura 8. Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 1947.

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    A groundbreaking study that evaluated Boccaccio’s works, particularly his earlier works, in a fictional, rather than autobiographical, mode. Billanovich presents Boccaccio as an erudite and sophisticated literary technician rather than as a lascivious lover.

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  • Branca, Vittore. Boccaccio medievale e nuovi studi sul Decameron. New ed. Saggi Sansoni. Florence: Sansoni, 1996.

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    This study remains the most influential study of Boccaccio. First published in 1956 and revised and enlarged in 1996, this volume defines Boccaccio as author of the emerging “merchant” class in Florentine and broader Italian society. The study focuses much attention on the Decameron but ranges broadly across all of Boccaccio’s works, both in Italian and Latin.

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  • Bruni, Francesco. Boccaccio, l’invenzione della letteratura mezzana. Collezione di Testi e di Studi. Bologna, Italy: Il Mulino, 1990.

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    Bruni traces Boccaccio’s entire literary career in his argument that Boccaccio sought to perfect a letteratura mezzana, a middle or median literary voice. The author pays particular attention to Boccaccio’s vernacular works, especially the Decameron. However, Bruni accounts for Boccaccio’s entire literary production.

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  • Gittes, Tobias Foster. Boccaccio’s Naked Muse: Eros, Culture, and the Mythopoeic Imagination. Toronto Italian Studies. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008.

    DOI: 10.3138/9781442687462Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Gittes considers the entire spectrum of Boccaccio’s writings to identify the manner in which the author adapted his sources—classical, Christian, and contemporaneous—to create new myths. The study most closely confronts the Genealogie deorum gentilium libri but dedicates much attention to the Decameron and other works.

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  • Kirkham, Victoria. The Sign of Reason in Boccaccio’s Fiction. Biblioteca di Lettere Italiane 43. Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 1993.

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    A collection of updated and reprinted essays on Boccaccio’s minor Italian works (Teseida) and the Decameron, with a new long essay on the Amorosa visione. The gathered essays share the theme of connecting Boccaccio to the intellectual culture of Scholasticism, in particular St. Thomas of Aquinas, sometimes through Dante.

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  • Padoan, Giorgio. Il Boccaccio, le muse, il Parnaso e l’Arno. Biblioteca di Lettere Italiane 21. Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 1978.

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    A collection of articles, many of which have been published elsewhere. The most-important contributions offer a possible dating for the Corbaccio (“Sulla datazione del Corbaccio”), describe Boccaccio’s relationship to Dante (“Il Boccaccio fedele di Dante”), and demonstrate Boccaccio’s role in the development of the bucolic in the trecento (“Giovanni Boccaccio e la rinascita dello stile bucolico”).

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Multiauthored Volumes

Anselmi, et al. 2013 focuses on Boccaccio’s narrative craft and his influence as an author through the Renaissance, while Armstrong, et al. 2015 contains essays by North American and British scholars on varying aspects of Boccaccio’s works. De Robertis, et al. 2013 and Ferracin and Venier 2014 contain essays mostly by Italian scholars on Boccaccio and his influence. Kirkham, et al. 2013 contains essays by North American scholars on each of Boccaccio’s works.

  • Anselmi, Gian Mario, Giovanni Baffetti, Carlo Delcorno, and Sebastiana Nobili, eds. Boccaccio e i suoi lettori: Una lunga ricezione. Bologna, Italy: Il Mulino, 2013.

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    This collection of conference proceedings collects nearly thirty essays with a wide variety of subjects and methodologies, all under the rubric of Boccaccio’s reception. The first of the four sections investigates Boccaccio’s authorial technique and influence as a father of Italian prose. Essays in the second section treat Boccaccio’s early reception in Florence and Tuscany. The third section stretches to include Boccaccio’s reception in Italy and Europe during the Renaissance period, and the fourth section turns to the necessary discussion of Boccaccio’s complex relationship with Dante.

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  • Armstrong, Guyda, Rhiannon Daniels, and Stephen J. Milner, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Boccaccio. Cambridge Companions to Literature. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

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    This collection of essays considers Boccaccio’s importance a cultural mediator in the Italian trecento, with thematic essays treating Boccaccio’s role in relationship to Dante, Petrarch, material culture, and other gender. The volume dedicates ample space to the Decameron and treats Boccaccio’s other texts less centrally. The front matter includes a list of autograph manuscripts and bibliography of editions and translations of Boccaccio’s work.

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  • De Robertis, Teresa, Carla Maria Monti, Marco Petoletti, Giuliano Tanturli, and Stefano Zamponi, eds. Boccaccio autore e copista. Florence: Mandragora, 2013.

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    This volume contains brief essays by Italian scholars on all of Boccaccio’s literary enterprises: his vernacular and Latin works, his zibaldoni, his work as copyist and editor of Dante and Petrarch, and his other work as copyist. The editors include a number of appendixes, including a rich bibliography and a list of Boccaccio manuscripts. The volume is noteworthy for the over fifty included images of manuscripts. The work is a comprehensive introduction of the state of Italian criticism on Boccaccio.

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  • Ferracin, Antonio, and Matteo Venier, eds. Giovanni Boccaccio: Tradizione, interpretazione e fortuna; In ricordo di Vittore Branca. Papers presented at an international conference held 23–25 May 2013 in Udine, Italy. Libri e Biblioteche 33. Udine, Italy: Forum, 2014.

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    This large volume contains over thirty essays in Italian by Italian and European scholars on a range of topics in four categories: the classical and medieval tradition in Boccaccio’s works, the fortune of Boccaccio’s work in later Italian and European authors, Boccaccio’s impact in northern Italy, and readings of novella and other texts. The volume includes two indexes and a list of manuscripts, as well as abstracts of each article in English.

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  • Kirkham, Victoria, Michael Sherberg, and Janet Levarie Smarr, eds. Boccaccio: A Critical Guide to the Complete Works. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013.

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    The editors collect together twenty-nine essays, each treating one of Boccaccio’s works. The front matter contains a chronology of Boccaccio’s life, an introductory essay, and illustrations; the end matter has ample notes and a rich bibliography, as well as an index.

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Boccaccio and Dante, Trattatello in laude di Dante

The 1979 edited volume of the conference, sponsored by the Società Dantesca Italiana (Società Dantesca Italiana 1979), brings together mostly philological essays concerning Boccaccio’s role in the transmission of Dante’s texts and as a reader of Dante. Bettinzoli 1981–1982 provides an exhaustive list of references to Dante in the Decameron, while Sandal 2006 collects essays about Boccaccio’s relationship with Dante’s works and politics. Hollander 1997 proposes that some of Boccaccio’s citation of Dante in the Decameron and elsewhere includes satire, and Houston 2010 argues that the entire scope of Boccaccio’s treatment of Dante intentionally constructs a specific political and intellectual figure of Dante. Boccaccio 2002, a translation by J. G. Nichols of Boccaccio’s biography of Dante, is the most updated. Ricci 1975 details the intellectual process behind the three versions of Dante’s biography, and Boli 1988 argues that Boccaccio’s biography of Dante was meant to persuade Petrarch.

  • Bettinzoli, Attilio. “Per une definizione delle presenze dantesche nel Decameron I: I registri ‘ideologici,’ lirici, drammatici.” Studi sul Boccaccio 13 (1981–1982): 267–326.

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    Continued in “Ironizzazione e espressivismo antifrastico-deformatorio,” in Studi sul Boccaccio 14 (1983–1984): 209–240. Important pair of articles that are among the first to treat the use of Dante’s language, from the Commedia as well as the Vita nuova, in Boccaccio’s Decameron. The author does not just offer an uncritical list of the textual borrowing, but, rather, he offers a narrative of the intertextualities while drawing important critical distinctions.

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  • Boccaccio, Giovanni. Life of Dante. Translated by J. G. Nichols. Introduction by A. N. Wilson. London: Hesperus, 2002.

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    This is based on the first redaction in Ricci’s edition for Branca’s Tutte le opere di Giovanni Boccaccio. Text does not include facing page original text. A short introduction by Wilson precedes the translation. Volume includes an introductory poem, spuriously attributed to Boccaccio, very short notes on the translation, and a novella from the Decameron (VI.9).

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  • Boli, Todd. “Boccaccio’s Trattatello in laude di Dante, or Dante Resartus.” Renaissance Quarterly 41.3 (1988): 389–412.

    DOI: 10.2307/2861754Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author argues that Boccaccio’s Trattatello in laude di Dante “redresses” Dante so that he might be more in line with Petrarch’s humanist project, which dominated contemporaneous Florence and beyond.

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  • Hollander, Robert. Boccaccio’s Dante and the Shaping Force of Satire. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997.

    DOI: 10.3998/mpub.15138Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book contains previously published essays on various aspects of Boccaccio’s treatment of Dante or Dantean themes in the Decameron. Hollander proposes that Boccaccio’s approach to Dante can be seen in his identification as the Italian Ovid to Dante’s Virgil; therefore, Boccaccio’s treatment of Dantean themes in the Decameron tends toward satire.

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  • Houston, Jason M. Building a Monument to Dante: Boccaccio as Dantista. Toronto Italian Studies. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2010.

    DOI: 10.3138/9781442685727Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author considers four roughly chronological aspects of Boccaccio’s preoccupation with Dante: editor, biographer, apologist, and commentator. Houston proposes that Boccaccio created a figure of Dante through these varied efforts in order to promote his own poetic and political vision of Tuscan and Italian civic culture.

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  • Ricci, Pier Giorgio. “Dante e Boccaccio.” L’Alighieri 16.1–2 (1975): 75–84.

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    Traces Boccaccio’s development of his biography of Dante through the initial stages of research to the three different versions of the Trattatello, which scholars recognize today thanks to Ricci’s historical and philological evidence in this article and elsewhere. Ricci also argues that Boccaccio’s lectures on Dante’s Commedia in Florence ended not only due to ill health but also to the rise of humanist literary tastes.

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  • Sandal, Ennio, ed. Dante e Boccaccio: Lectura Dantis scaligera, 2004–2005, in memoria di Vittore Branca. Miscellanea Erudita, n.s. 72. Rome: Antenore, 2006.

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    This volume contains a collection of essays by distinguished Italian scholars, all in Italian. Many of the articles rework earlier published pieces on Dante and Boccaccio, including contributions by Bettinzoli and Peruzzi. The most-pertinent pieces on Boccaccio’s relationship to Dante are by Carlo Delcorno and Manlio Pastore Stocchi.

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  • Società Dantesca Italiana. Giovanni Boccaccio editore e interprete di Dante: Convegno su Giovanni Boccaccio editore e interprete di Dante, Firenze-Certaldo, 19–20 aprile 1975. Florence: L. S. Olschki, 1979.

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    Collects and publishes papers given at a conference on Dante and Boccaccio in Florence. Two of the articles (by Domenico De Robertis and Giorgio Petrocchi) discuss Boccaccio’s role in the transmission of the Commedia. Giorgio Padoan’s article on Boccaccio role in the rebirth of the bucolic in Italy remains central.

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Boccaccio and Petrarch, De vita et moribus Francisci Petracchi

Villani 2004, an edition and translation of Boccaccio’s biography of Petrarch, offers useful notes and appendixes to the text. Billanovich 1947 defines the relationship between Boccaccio and Petrarch as disciple to master, whereas Branca 1980 complicates the commonly held assumptions about Boccaccio and Petrarch’s relationship. Velli 1987 recognizes the importance of Boccaccio’s biography of Petrarch in the formation of the legend of Petrarch. Kircher 2006 explores the important roles that both Boccaccio and Petrarch had in the formation of humanism, and Eisner 2007 argues that Boccaccio influenced Petrarch’s Trionfi. Lummus 2012 contrasts Boccaccio’s and Petrarch’s views of classical and contemporaneous culture, in an effort to reconsider the relationship between the two.

  • Billanovich, Giuseppe. Petrarca letterato. Vol. 1, Lo scrittoio del Petrarca. Storia e Letteratura 16. Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 1947.

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    The volume contains three long studies of Petrarch’s life and works. Billanovich dedicates the second and longest essay, nearly 250 pages, to Boccaccio’s relationship with Petrarch. “Il più grande discepolo di Petrarca” views Boccaccio’s literary development in terms of an attempt to conform to Petrarch’s humanism.

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  • Branca, Vittore. “Petrarch and Boccaccio.” In Francesco Petrarca, Citizen of the World: Proceedings of the World Petrarch Congress, Washington, D.C., April 6–13, 1974. Edited by Aldo S. Bernardo, 193–221. Studi sul Petrarcha 8. Padua, Italy: Antenore, 1980.

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    In this article, published elsewhere in English and in Italian, the author summarizes the traditional view of Boccaccio’s relationship to Petrarch as one of student to master. He then complicates that view by suggesting that Boccaccio and Petrarch might have had a more collaborative literary relationship.

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  • Eisner, Martin. “Petrarch Reading Boccaccio: Revisiting the Genesis of the Triumphi.” In Petrarch and the Textual Origins of Interpretation. Edited by Teodolinda Barolini and H. Wayne Storey, 131–146. Columbia Studies in the Classical Tradition 31. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2007.

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    The author considers philological evidence—particularly a close analysis of variants of Boccaccio’s and Petrarch’s vernacular production—that points to the influence of Boccaccio’s Amorosa visione in Petrarch’s vernacular poem I triumphi.

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  • Kircher, Timothy. The Poet’s Wisdom: The Humanists, the Church, and the Formation of Philosophy in the Early Renaissance. Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History 133. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2006.

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    This monograph considers the roles both of Boccaccio and Petrarch in forming the philosophical precepts that will come to define Renaissance humanism. Kircher compares aspects both of Boccaccio’s and Petrarch’s work, sometimes noting the difference between their visions, with the religious thinkers, preachers, and theologians of the Italian trecento.

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  • Lummus, David. “Boccaccio’s Hellenism and the Foundations of Modernity.” Mediaevalia 33 (2012): 101–167.

    DOI: 10.1353/mdi.2012.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Lummus contrasts the cultural views of Boccaccio and Petrarch through the example of the differing approaches and views of ancient Greek culture and myths. Using examples from Boccaccio’s Genealogie and the correspondences between the two poets, the author shows how Boccaccio had a more open concept of classical culture than did Petrarch.

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  • Velli, Giuseppe. “Il De vita et moribus domini Francisci Petracchi de Florentia del Boccaccio e la biografia del Petrarca.” MLN 102.1 (1987): 32–38.

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    Velli discusses Boccaccio’s short biography of Petrarch as part of Boccaccio’s important juvenile literary production. Despite its formal and rhetorical reliance on biographic models, Velli argues that it played an important role in the development of a “fictional” Petrarch.

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  • Villani, Gianni, ed. and trans. Vita di Petrarca. Faville 25. Rome: Salerno, 2004.

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    This edition and translation of Boccaccio’s De vita et moribus Francisci Petracchi contains a newly edited Latin text as well as a translation of the original into Italian, presented on the facing page. The edition comes with a lengthy introduction to text, in which the editor contextualizes the biography in terms of the relationship between Petrarch and Boccaccio.

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Boccaccio and Chaucer

Boitani 1983 includes essays on the breadth of the question of Boccaccio’s influence on Geoffrey Chaucer. Thompson 1996 focuses on the question of Chaucer’s direct and indirect knowledge of the Decameron as a source for the Canterbury Tales. Koff and Schildgen 2000 is a collection of essays on many issues related to the two authors, while Ginsberg 2002 tackles in depth Chaucer’s understanding of Italian literary culture through Boccaccio. Coleman 2005 updates the understanding of Boccaccio’s knowledge of the Teseida. Clarke 2011 focuses on the manuscript culture surrounding Boccaccio and Chaucer and the material evidence of their relationship.

  • Boitani, Piero, ed. Chaucer and the Italian Trecento. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

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    This collection of essays edited by Boitani contains mostly pieces directly addressing Chaucer’s relationship to Boccaccio. Essays by J. A. W. Bennett, David Wallace, and Boitani, and two by Robin Kirkpatrick, directly address Chaucer’s use and borrowings from Boccaccio’s vernacular works. Peter Godman looks at Chaucer’s appropriation of Boccaccio’s Latin encyclopedic works.

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  • Clarke, K. P. Chaucer and Italian Textuality. Oxford English Monographs. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199607778.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author focuses on the related manuscript cultures of Chaucer’s and Boccaccio’s texts, locating similar practices both in the authors, as glossators for example, and in their readership. The author provides a useful appendix that lists all the marginal commentary on f Day X, 10, in that manuscript.

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  • Coleman, William E. “The Knight’s Tale.” In Sources and Analogues of the Canterbury Tales II. Edited by Robert M. Correale and Mary Hamel, 87–248. Chaucer Studies 35. Cambridge, UK: D. S. Brewer, 2005.

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    Coleman’s book-length contribution to the volume thoroughly describes Chaucer’s appropriation of Boccaccio’s Teseida for his “Knight’s Tale” of the Canterbury Tales. The study presents the likely manuscript versions that Chaucer might have possessed, and it closely considers the textual form (including Boccaccio’s self-commentary) available to the English poet.

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  • Ginsberg, Warren. Chaucer’s Italian Tradition. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002.

    DOI: 10.3998/mpub.17201Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This monograph engages Chaucer’s relationship with each of the Tre Corone, individually and together, as what the author identifies collectively as Chaucer’s “Italian Tradition.” The central three chapters treat in detail Chaucer’s literary interactions with Boccaccio.

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  • Koff, Leonard Michael, and Brenda Deen Schildgen, eds. The Decameron and the Canterbury Tales: New Essays on an Old Question. Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2000.

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    This volume gathers ten essays together with a number of short essays in the front and end matter, all of which treat Boccaccio’s influence on Chaucer. Despite the title, many of the essays discuss texts besides Boccaccio’s Decameron, including the Teseida and De casibus.

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  • Thompson, N. S. Chaucer, Boccaccio and the Debate of Love: A Comparative Study of the Decameron and the Canterbury Tales. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

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    Taking his starting point from an assumption that Chaucer had exposure to the Decameron, while not claiming that he read the collection in its original entirety, the author offers comparative readings, both specific and thematic, between the Canterbury Tales and Boccaccio’s collection of novella.

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Vernacular Works Prior to the Decameron

Scholars, mostly in North America, have fruitfully investigated Boccaccio’s intellectual development through his early vernacular works. Hollander 1977 offers an allegorical interpretation of the figure of Venus both as secular and sacred love across Boccaccio’s early vernacular works. Smarr 1986 evaluates the development of Boccaccio’s narrative style, while McGregor 1991 focuses on Boccaccio’s treatment of the classical world and authors in Boccaccio’s three vernacular epics. Velli 1995 details Boccaccio’s literary borrowings from classical sources, and Giusti 1999 describes Boccaccio’s developing concept of Love. Kirkham 2001 judges Boccaccio’s complex narrative strategies as formative for the European romance tradition.

  • Giusti, Eugenio L. Dall’amore cortese alla comprensione: Il viaggio ideologico di Giovanni Boccaccio dalla “Caccia di Diana” al “Decameron.” Studi e Ricerche (Edizioni di Lettere Economia Diritto). Milan: LED, 1999.

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    This study tracks Boccaccio’s developing ideology of love. The first chapter considers the early vernacular works, and the second chapter argues that the Elegia di Madonna Fiammetta is a turning point away from courtly love to a pragmatic theory of love. The remaining chapters treat the juxtaposition of love presented in the Decameron and the Corbaccio.

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  • Hollander, Robert. Boccaccio’s Two Venuses. New York: Columbia University Press, 1977.

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    An important study of the corpus of Boccaccio’s early vernacular texts (before the Decameron) that focuses on his complex treatment on the theme of love. The central argument holds that although all the early texts focus on “carnal” love, they should not be understood as lascivious texts or autobiographical accounts of Boccaccio’s youthful affairs.

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  • Kirkham, Victoria. Fabulous Vernacular: Boccaccio’s Filocolo and the Art of Medieval Fiction. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2001.

    DOI: 10.3998/mpub.16493Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This monograph focuses on Boccaccio’s Filocolo but serves as a wide-ranging discussion of much of his early vernacular works. This study argues that Boccaccio’s vernacular storytelling in the Filocolo, the first work of prose fiction in European literary history, brings together disparate literary and cultural threads, and that this work inaugurates the romance literary tradition in Italian.

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  • McGregor, James H. The Shades of Aeneas: The Imitation of Virgil and the History of Paganism in Boccaccio’s Filostrato, Filocolo, and Teseida. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1991.

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    This brief monograph focuses on Boccaccio’s figuration of the pagan world, both through texts from classical Antiquity and medieval sources, in three of his early vernacular texts. The author pays particular attention to the importance of Vergilian influence, both through his texts and his literary afterlife in the Middle Ages.

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  • Smarr, Janet Levarie. Boccaccio and Fiammetta: The Narrator as Lover. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986.

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    Smarr traces the development of Boccaccio’s narrative strategies by considering his shifting authorial voice, particularly as it relates to the recurring character of Fiammetta, his supposed lover. Taking as a departure point the separation of a historical “Fiammetta” from Boccaccio’s fictional character, Smarr considers many of his vernacular literary works, from the early Caccia di Diana to his last Rime.

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  • Velli, Giuseppe. Petrarca e Boccaccio: Tradizione, memoria, scrittura. 2d ed. Studi sul Petrarca 7. Padua, Italy: Antenore, 1995.

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    This book collects essays on Boccaccio’s early works, some of which had been previously published. Most of the essays in the volume are on Boccaccio. All the articles, four of which are generically titled “Note di cultura boccacciana,” trace Boccaccio’s literary characters in the early vernacular works back to classical sources.

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Caccia di Diana and Filostrato

Irene Iocca (Iocca 2016) offers a new edition of the Caccia di Diana, with an ample scholarly apparatus. Anthony Cassell and Victoria Kirkham (Cassell and Kirkham 1991) provide an excellent translation and study of the Caccia di Diana. Kirkham 1978 reveals the intricate numerology latent in the Caccia, Illiano 1984 discusses Boccaccio’s classical and contemporaneous sources, and Cassell 1991 evaluates the early narrative style of Boccaccio. Robert P. ApRoberts and Anna Seldis provide a translation of the Filostrato (Boccaccio 1986). Gozzi 1968 details the varied sources Boccaccio drew from in the Filostrato, and Banella 2011 examines the tradition of illustrated manuscripts of the text.

  • Banella, Laura. “Su alcuni manoscritti illustrati del Filostrato.” Studi sul Boccaccio 39 (2011): 315–366.

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    The article details one group of illustrated manuscripts of the Filostrato transmission family. These manuscripts have a cycle of illuminations that illustrate narrative moments from the text they accompany.

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  • Boccaccio, Giovanni. Il filostrato. Edited by Vincenzo Pernicone. Translated and introduced by Robert P. ApRoberts and Anna Bruni Seldis. Garland Library of Medieval Literature 53. New York: Garland, 1986.

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    Based on Pernicone’s edition, which itself was the basis for Vittore Branca’s edition. This edition includes facing-page original Italian text, with prose translation. Long introduction focuses on the Trolius story before Boccaccio and in the English tradition (Geoffrey Chaucer, in particular) after Boccaccio, with select bibliography following. No notes or commentary on the text.

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  • Cassell, Anthony K. “Boccaccio’s Caccia di Diana: Horizon of Expectation.” Italian Culture 9.1 (1991): 85–102.

    DOI: 10.1179/itc.1991.9.1.85Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The article begins with a summary of the action of Boccaccio’s first work. But the majority of the article treats the way in which this early work tells the reader about Boccaccio’s formation as a writer and what it will lead to in his literary career.

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  • Cassell, Anthony K., and Victoria Kirkham, eds. and trans. Diana’s Hunt / Caccia di Diana: Boccaccio’s First Fiction. Middle Ages. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991.

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    A rich volume based on Branca’s edition and a review of six manuscripts. Facing-page original Italian text is provided. The volume contains a long introduction by Kirkham, with Cassell’s revisions. Nine period illustrations (from manuscripts, cassoni, frescoes) are included throughout. Comprehensive commentary and notes follow the poem, with a glossary of characters (and biographical sketch of historical figures).

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  • Gozzi, Maria. “Sulle fonti del Filostrato: Le narrazioni di argomento troiano.” Studi sul Boccaccio 5 (1968): 123–210.

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    An exhaustive study of six possible precedents to Boccaccio’s version of the story of Trolius and Cressida in the Filostrato. The author proceeds by citing a lengthy passage from Boccaccio’s text and then presenting the relevant passages from source texts that represent important milestones on the development of the story and that take part in the culture (Italian, French, Latin) with which the young Boccaccio was familiar.

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  • Illiano, Antonio. “Per una rilettura della Caccia di Diana.” Italica 61.4 (1984): 312–334.

    DOI: 10.2307/479018Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this article the author considers the Caccia as a mélange of franco-provenzale literary forms, romance, and lyric poetry, combined with the classical theme of the ludic coming-of-age celebrations found in classical representations. Illiano gives a summary of the text as well as a reading of the intricate numerical structures foregrounded in the text.

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  • Iocca, Irene, ed. Caccia di Diana. Testi e Documenti di Letteratura e di Lingua 39. Rome: Salerno Editore, 2016.

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    This new critical edition revisits the text of this poem in the light of newly discovered manuscripts of the text and offers changes to Branca’s critical edition from 1967. The editor also provides added commentary on the context of the work, with particular attention to Dantean echoes and the popular troubadour tradition current in Angevin Naples.

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  • Kirkham, Victoria. “Numerology and Allegory in Boccaccio’s Caccia di Diana.” Traditio 34 (1978): 303–329.

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    This important article provides a rich interpretation of the Caccia as an allegory of Christian love’s victory over bestial lust. Kirkham establishes this interpretation through an exhaustive numerological investigation of 3, 7, and 9, providing classical and medieval literary and philosophical sources for Boccaccio’s meanings.

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Filocolo and Teseida

Donald Cheney (Boccaccio 1985) provides the first translation of the Filocolo in English. Grossvogel 1992 places the Filocolo in the context of Boccaccio’s medieval culture, Porcelli 1993 adds another classical text to the list of possible sources, and Morosini 2004 considers the complex narrative structure as evidence of Boccaccio’s sophistication. Hagedorn 2004 looks at how Boccaccio mediates between classical and Christian depictions of women. Vincenzo Traversa (Boccaccio 2002) contributes a translation of one particular version of the Teseida. Hollander 1977 catalogues and classifies Boccaccio’s self-commentary, Andersen 1988 evaluates how Boccaccio used and changed his source material, and Martinez 1991–1992 discusses how Boccaccio incorporates Dante’s Statius into his epic.

  • Andersen, David. Before the Knight’s Tale: Imitation of Classical Epic in Boccaccio’s Teseida. Middle Ages. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988.

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    The study aims to show how Boccaccio adapted his classical sources, particularly Statius, in his reworking of the epic story of Thebes in the Teseida. Andersen claims that Boccaccio did not seek a direct imitation of his sources but, rather, sought to imitate through analogy. Through comparing passages from the Latin epics with Boccaccio’s vernacular poem, Andersen demonstrates how Boccaccio subtly attends to patterns, mirroring, and substitutions in his analogous imitation of Statius.

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  • Boccaccio, Giovanni. Il filocolo. Translated by Donald Cheney with the collaboration of Thomas G. Bergin. Garland Library of Medieval Literature 43. New York: Garland, 1985.

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    Translation based on Antonio Enzo Quaglio’s critical edition. This translation does not offer facing-page Italian text, though it seeks to be a full and literal translation of the original. There are four Renaissance illustrations in the text. Limited endnotes precede an extensive index, which also provides brief identifications and sources.

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  • Boccaccio, Giovanni. Giovanni Boccaccio, Theseid of the Nuptials of Emilia (Teseida delle nozze di Emilia). Translated and introduced by Vincenzo Traversa. Currents in Comparative Romance Languages and Literatures 116. New York: Peter Lang, 2002.

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    Text based on a paper manuscript privately held by the translator and on the Codice Laurenziano Doni e Acquisti, 325, edited by Aurelio Roncaglia with consultation on Alberto Limentani’s critical edition. The entire Italian text precedes the prose translation of the poem.

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  • Grossvogel, Steven. Ambiguity and Allusion in Boccaccio’s Filocolo. Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 1992.

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    The author seeks to place Boccaccio’s epic in the matrix of medieval sources and intellectual traditions that will come to define the author: from Aristotle to Boethius, Thomas Aquinas, and Dante, to name a few. Thus, the author sees the Filocolo as a speculum mundi of the culture that beget Boccaccio’s literary production.

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  • Hagedorn, Suzanne. Abandoned Women: Rewriting the Classics in Dante, Boccaccio, & Chaucer. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2004.

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    Hagedorn looks at how three important medieval authors negotiated classical portrayals of women, particularly in Ovid’s Heroides, in the economy of Christian virtue in the Middle Ages. Hagedorn focuses on the Teseida in chapter 3, while also discussing the text in chapter 4 on the Elegia of Madonna Fiammetta.

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  • Hollander, Robert. “The Validity of Boccaccio’s Self-Exegesis in His Teseida.” Medievalia et Humanistica 8 (1977): 163–183.

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    Evaluates and categorizes the over a thousand glosses that Boccaccio himself wrote to his Teseida. The author categorizes most of them as philological; over two hundred of the glosses are expositions of classical names, and over twenty are authorial interventions.

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  • Martinez, Ronald L. “Before the Teseida: Statius and Dante in Boccaccio’s Epic.” Studi sul Boccaccio 20 (1991–1992): 205–219.

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    The author takes as a departure Boccaccio’s citation of Dante’s call for an Italian vernacular poet of the martial epic at the outset of the Teseida, but the article explores more deeply the important presence of Dante’s idea of poetic development in the epic.

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  • Morosini, Roberta. “Per difetto rintegrare”: Una lettura del “Filocolo” di Giovanni Boccaccio. Memoria del Tempo 26. Ravenna, Italy: Longo, 2004.

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    The author proposes a metaliterary reading of Boccaccio’s prose epic, viewing the repeated retellings of the main narrative in differing narrative forms as evidence of Boccaccio’s early and continued interest in questions of rhetoric, poetics, and narrative strategies, which resurface in the Decameron and the Genealogie.

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  • Porcelli, Bruno. “Strutture e forme narrative nel Filocolo.” Studi sul Boccaccio 21 (1993): 207–233.

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    The author describes similarities in the narrative structure of the Filocolo to Xenephon of Ephesus’s Tale of Anthia and Habrocomes. He then proceeds to break down the work into three macrosections that intentionally parallel Dante’s tripartite division of the afterworld in the Commedia.

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Amorosa visione and Comedia delle ninfe fiorentine (Ameto)

Robert Hollander and colleagues (Boccaccio 1986) provide a translation with facing page and an excellent introductory essay to the Amorosa visione. Smarr 1977 and Huot 1985 read the text as purposefully ambiguous between classical and Christian values, and Colussi 1998 uses philological evidence to attribute both redactions of the poem to Boccaccio. Judith Serafini-Sauli (Boccaccio 1985) provides a translation of the Comedia delle ninfe fiorentine. Del Giudice 1982 contends that the poem lacks a coherent allegorical narrative; Poole 1983 counters that the allegory represents the tension inherent in Boccaccio’s intellectual vision.

  • Boccaccio, Giovanni. L’Ameto. Translated by Judith Serafini-Sauli. Garland Library of Medieval Literature 33. New York: Garland, 1985.

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    Translation based on the critical edition by Quaglio. This translation does not offer facing-page Italian text. The translator strives for readability and has, therefore, not maintained the rhyme in verse or the cursus in the prose passages. Text introduced by a brief bibliography and followed by endnotes.

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  • Boccaccio, Giovanni. Amorosa visione. Translated by Robert Hollander, Timothy Hampton, and Margherita Frankel. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1986.

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    Translation based on Branca’s critical edition; the translators have given a facing-page prose translation of Boccaccio’s original terza rima poem. This volume also contains an important introductory essay on the poem, a translation from an earlier essay, by Branca.

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  • Colussi, Francesco. “Sulla seconda redazione dell’Amorosa visione.” Studi sul Boccaccio 26 (1998): 187–263.

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    The author begins this long study of the Boccaccio’s second redaction of the Amorosa visione with a detailed history of the controversy surrounding the identification of this redaction as authorial—a debate that involved many of the most important Italian philologists of the 20th century.

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  • Del Giudice, Luisa. “Boccaccio’s Comedia delle ninfe fiorentine and Literary Dissociation: To Allegorize or Not to Allegorize?” Carte Italiane 3 (1982): 15–27.

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    The author shows how the work contrasts sensual realism of the descriptions of the environment with the sporadic allegorical elements that attempt to form a narrative of Christian conversion. The author portrays Boccaccio’s work as something of a failure, or at least an incomplete Christian narrative.

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  • Huot, Sylvia. “Poetic Ambiguity and Reader Response in Boccaccio’s Amorosa visione.” Modern Philology 83.2 (1985): 109–122.

    DOI: 10.1086/391450Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author reads the Amorosa visione as a fundamentally ambiguous text, negotiating between diverse genres and ethical poles. She states that the work is two texts—an acrostic lyrical poem and a narrative poem in one—and that this duality creates the ambiguity that has resisted previous critical attempts to locate a single allegorical interpretation for the whole.

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  • Poole, Gordon. “Boccaccio’s Comedia delle ninfe fiorentine.” Annali dell’Istituto Universitario Orientale 25.2 (1983): 499–518.

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    The author offers an allegorical reading of the Ameto countering the generally held critical opinion that the work fails to offer a coherent allegorical meaning. Poole readily admits to tension between the sensual eroticism of the text and the Christian allegory of conversion, but he claims that this tension exists in much of Boccaccio’s literary career.

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  • Smarr, Janet Levarie. “Boccaccio and the Choice of Hercules.” Modern Language Notes 92.1 (1977): 146–152.

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    Smarr details the interpretive confusion surrounding the Amorosa visione, pointing out how many previous readers have taken the poem as autobiographical, didactic, and moralistic. She argues that Boccaccio structures the poem around a series of binary choices: virtue and vice, charity and cupidity.

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Ninfale fiesolano and Elegia di Madonna Fiammetta

Daniel Donno (Boccaccio 1960) provides a basic translation of the Ninfale fiesolano. Balduino 1964 characterizes the Ninfale as a “middle-class work, adopting popular French literary genre”; Porcelli 1987 and Armao 1990 consider possible authorial intention behind the notable mixing of genre in the poem. Mariangela Causa-Steindler and Thomas Mauch (Boccaccio 1990) provide an accessible translation of the Elegia di Madonna Fiammetta. Donato 1982 psychoanalyzes the Elegia; Marti 1980 counters that the text is not autobiographical either for the author or a historical lover. Smarr 1993 sees the tension in the text as a debate between classical and Christian culture and ethics.

  • Armao, Linda. “The Ninfale fiesolano: Ovidian Bravura Veiling Truth.” In Italiana 1988: Selected Papers from the Proceedings of the Fifth Annual Conference of the American Association of Teachers of Italian, November 18–20, 1988, Monterey, CA. Edited by Albert N. Mancini, Paolo A. Giordano, and Anthony J. Tamburri, 35–50. Rosary College Italian Studies 4. River Forest, IL: Rosary College, 1990.

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    The author argues that the Ninfale fiesolano has been misunderstood as simple and was underappreciated by previous readers.

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  • Balduino, Armando. “Tradizione canterina e tonalità popolareggianti nel Ninfale fiesolano.” Studi sul Boccaccio 2 (1964): 25–80.

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    In this long article the author shows how the Ninfale fiesolano utilizes literary forms popular with the Florentine middle class. Balduino shows how the current work shares structural and linguistic characteristics with French romances, lyrics for dance music such as ballads, strambotti, and the mostly oral cantari tradition.

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  • Boccaccio, Giovanni. The Nymph of Fiesole (Il ninfale fiesolano). Translation by Daniel J. Donno. Illustrations by Angela Conner. New York: Columbia University Press, 1960.

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    The translator offers a prose translation based on Pernicone’s edition, not part of Branca’s Tutte le opere, of Boccaccio’s short poem. No facing-page original Italian text. Prose translation attempts to follow the stanza structure of the original, using heavy alliteration to mimic original poetic effect.

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  • Boccaccio, Giovanni. The Elegy of Lady Fiammetta. Edited and translated by Mariangela Causa-Steindler and Thomas Mauch. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.

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    Translation based mostly on two editions, that of Bruno Maier (1967) and Cesare Segre (1978), neither of which are part of Branca’s edition. Translation does not include the original Italian text.

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  • Donato, Clorinda. “Nota su l’Elegia di Madonna Fiammetta e la possibilità di una triplice analisi psicoanalitica: Autore, personaggio, pubblico.” Carte Italiane: A Journal of Italian Studies 3 (1982): 29–38.

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    The author makes the case that the Elegia can be viewed as the first psychological novel in the Western literary tradition. Boccaccio’s use of the female first-person narrative voice allows the reader to enter the mind of the crisis-stricken narrator, Fiammetta. Donato relies on Freudian theory for her reading, particularly Beyond the Pleasure Principle.

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  • Marti, Mario. “L’Elegia di Madonna Fiammetta: Alle origini dell’umanesimo del Boccaccio.” In Dante, Boccaccio, Leopardi: Studi. By Mario Marti, 189–208. Collana di Testi e di Critica 25. Naples, Italy: Liguori, 1980.

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    Marti takes the character of Fiammetta in the Elegia not as a historical lover of the author, but rather as a representation of Boccaccio’s time in Naples. Marti argues that the Elegia bridges Boccaccio’s experience between Naples and Florence, juxtaposing the French courtly culture for early Florentine humanism.

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  • Porcelli, Bruno. “Sull’unità compositiva del Ninfale fiesolano.” In Dante maggiore e Boccaccio minore: Strutture e modelli. By Bruno Porcelli, 160–175. Bibliotechina di Studi, Ricerche e Testi 9. Pisa, Italy: Giardini Editori, 1987.

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    The author rejects the previously widely held critical appraisal of the Ninfale fiesolano: that it lacks compositional unity and thus escapes generic classification. He argues that this juxtaposition of forms generates meaning in the work, demonstrating a historical progression from ancient to modern culture.

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  • Smarr, Janet L. “Boccaccio Elegia on the Use of the Classics.” Italian Culture 11.1 (1993): 127–134.

    DOI: 10.1179/itc.1993.11.1.127Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Smarr views the Elegia as more than a psychological description of the narrator’s madness, but rather as a lesson on how the classical world can instruct his contemporaries. Smarr discusses how the setting of the work remains ambiguously classical, but that the narrator can learn how to avoid vice from the examples.

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Decameron

The Decameron has been the subject of the greatest quantity and variety of critical attention of any of Boccaccio’s works. Decameron criticism also lends itself to volumes of collected essays, either of the same author or many different authors. The text has been translated many times into English and has been the subject of short introductory books. After the first phase of philological criticism (see Manuscripts), scholars have explored Boccaccio’s sources and influences, his highly rhetorical language, and the formal aspects of the frame-narrative text. Newer critical trends have introduced different approaches, including feminism and Mediterranean studies, and have also looked at Boccaccio’s reception.

Introductory Studies, Translations, and Collected Essays

Wallace 1991 gives an overview of the Decameron for students. The Decameron Web website offers readers many useful tools for reading the text. Wayne Rebhorn (Boccaccio 2013) offers the most updated translation of the Decameron in English, with ample introduction and notes. Picone 2008 collects many of the author’s essays previously published in a single volume, Dombroski 1976 contains essays from an eclectic selection of famous writers and contemporary critics, and Bragantini and Forni 1995 is a volume organized around long essays on thematic and rhetorical categories in the Decameron. Picone 2002 presents conference proceedings about the Decameron, organized by four central themes. Weaver 2004 and Ciabattoni and Forni 2014 have individual essays, each by a different critic on novellas of Days I and III, as well as, in the former, the proem and the introduction to Day I. Cervigni 2013 collects essays by various authors, one each for every day of the Decameron, and select thematic essays. The authors of Branca and Vitale 2002 combine efforts to present and evaluate the linguistic changes between the two authorial versions of the Decameron.

  • Boccaccio, Giovanni. The Decameron. Translated by Wayne A. Rebhorn. New York: Norton, 2013.

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    Translation of the entire Decameron on the basis of standard critical edition by Vittore Branca. Translator seeks to keep Boccaccio’s variety of tone, from colloquial to eloquent, while shortening the long sentences, which at times are too convoluted for English. The translation includes a long introduction to Boccaccio’s life, times, and works.

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  • Bragantini, Renzo, and Pier Massimo Forni, eds. Lessico critico decameroniano. Studi e Strumenti. Turin, Italy: Bollati Boringhieri, 1995.

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    The editors construct this volume with seventeen essays with categorical titles, such as “Azione,” “Lingua,” and “Riso.” In the brief introduction, they state that they hope to take a new look at the Decameron by employing current literary theoretical trends and by inviting a few critical contributions from outside the small circle of Boccaccio specialists in Italy.

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  • Branca, Vittore, and Maurizio Vitale. Il capolavoro di Boccaccio e due diverse redazioni. 2 vols. Venice: Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Letteri, ed Arti, 2002.

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    This two-volume dual-authored study aims to prove through philological and linguistic analysis that Boccaccio significantly rewrote the Decameron. The first volume (La riscrittura del “Decameron”: I mutamenti linguistici) presents an exhaustive comparative study of the linguistic differences between two versions. The second volume (Variazioni narrative e stilistiche) contains the philological evidence for the two different redactions of the Decameron.

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  • Cervigni, Dino S., ed. Boccaccio’s Decameron: Rewriting the Christian Middle Ages. Annali d’Italianistica 31. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2013.

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    The volume consists of fifteen essays, dealing with each of the ten days, the ballads, additional aspects of the masterpiece, and an appendix with the transcription of an incunabulum containing the verse rendering of the Ghismonda and Tancredi tale.

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  • Ciabattoni, Francesco, and Pier Massimo Forni, eds. The Decameron: Third Day in Perspective. Toronto Italian Studies / Lectura Boccaccii 3. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014.

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    This volume contains essays on each of the novellas in Day III, with an introductory essay by the editors.

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  • Decameron Web.

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    This website includes many tools for readers of the Decameron and other texts by Boccaccio, including texts and translations, search engines, images, brief subject essays, maps, and bibliography.

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  • Dombroski, Robert S., ed. Critical Perspectives on the Decameron. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1976.

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    This volume collects a number of seminal essays on Boccaccio and the Decameron, by an impressive group of literary luminaries and scholars from the 19th and 20th centuries.

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  • Picone, Michelangelo. Boccaccio e la codificazione della novella: Letture del “Decameron.” Edited by Nicole Coderey, Claudia Genswein, and Rosa Pittorino. Memoria del Tempo 32. Ravenna, Italy: Longo Editore, 2008.

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    The editors collect over twenty essays composed by Picone from 1981 to 2008. Nearly all the essays offer readings of an individual novella, and Picone’s approach focuses on the rhetorical form of the sermo brevis.

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  • Picone, Michelangelo, ed. Autori e lettori di Boccaccio: Atti del Convegno internazionale di Certaldo (20–22 settembre 2001). Quaderni della Rassegna 29. Florence: Franco Cesati, 2002.

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    The majority of the essays included in this volume treat the Decameron, some offer readings of individual novellas, others take a more thematic look at Boccaccio’s writing, and a few look at the afterlife of Boccaccio’s stories, from the Renaissance to D’Annunzio.

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  • Wallace, David. Giovanni Boccaccio: Decameron. Landmarks of World Literature. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139166362Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This short introductory monograph is part of the Landmarks of World Literature series. The author offers a brief overview of Boccaccio’s intellectual and biographical context. The book contains very short chapters dedicated to each day.

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  • Weaver, Elissa B., ed. The Decameron First Day in Perspective. Toronto Italian Studies / Lectura Boccaccii 1. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004.

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    This volume collects essays on each of the ten stories from the Decameron’s first day. The volume also has a brief introductory essay by the volume editor, as well as an essay on the proem and the introduction to Day I.

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Traditional Criticism: Formal, Historical, Rhetorical

Getto 1958 finds an interior motive of sapar vivere (know how to live) to the Decameron. Baratto 1970 evaluates the different rhetorical modes of the Decameron’s many novellas. Marcus 1979 reads the frame story of the Decameron in relationship with individual stories to locate a complex network of meanings, Cottino-Jones 1982 finds a progression in the structure of the text that mirrors contemporaneous events and thought, and Barolini 1983 finds a cyclical narrative structure in the themes of the ten days. Ó Cuilleanáin 1984 explores the representation of religion and religious figures in many novellas, while Mazzotta 1986 contextualizes Boccaccio’s thought in the Decameron within contemporaneous intellectual traditions. Fido 1988 and Forni 1996 offer structural and rhetorical readings of Boccaccio’s text and narrative style. Marchesi 2004 shows how Boccaccio’s text provokes open and variable interpretation from different readers. Migiel 2015 approaches the question of the “ethics” of the Decameron with any eye to Boccaccio’s role in forcing readers and translators to make ethical determinations that the author leaves open.

  • Baratto, Mario. Realtà e stile nel “Decameron.” Nuova Biblioteca di Cultura 34. Vicenza, Italy: Neri Pozza Editore, 1970.

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    This long study aims to describe a narrative system in the Decameron. Accordingly, Baratto first explores the medieval rhetorical context of the Decameron; he then details the different narrative modes found within the Decameron. The author shows how Boccaccio attempts to describe the variety of his world in a unified collection of stories.

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  • Barolini, Teodolinda. “The Wheel of the Decameron.” Romance Philology 36.4 (1983): 521–539.

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    Barolini describes the Decameron as completing a narrative cycle, from the initial devastation of the plague to the return of the brigata to a restored Florence. The article treats the themes of each of the ten days.

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  • Cottino-Jones, Marga. Order from Chaos: Social and Aesthetic Harmonies in Boccaccio’s Decameron. Washington, DC: University Press of America, 1982.

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    This study aims at describing the entire structure of the Decameron in terms of a restoration of political and social order after the chaos of the plague. The author takes on the task of discussing every aspect of the Decameron—the one hundred stories and all the frame elements.

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  • Fido, Franco. Il regime delle simmetrie imperfette: Studi sul “‘Decameron.” Collana Letteratura 4. Milan: Franco Angeli, 1988.

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    This volume contains essays, many of which were previously published, that gather under the theme of “imperfect symmetry,” or Boccaccio’s allusive structure in the Decameron. Fido proposes two ways to read purposeful ambiguity in the Decameron: as the relationship between the author and reader and as that between literature and the world, or, semiotically, the word and the referent.

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  • Forni, Pier Massimo. Adventures in Speech: Rhetoric and Narration in Boccaccio’s Decameron. Middle Ages. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996.

    DOI: 10.9783/9781512804270Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study looks at the relationship between narration and rhetoric in the entirety of the Decameron. The author begins his study with the stated assumption that rhetoric—he specifies this as non-narrative discourse in the various frames of the Decameron—and narration within the story continually gloss each other, and that this interaction produces complexity that this study seeks to engage.

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  • Getto, Giovanni. Vita di forme e forme di vita nel Decameron. Turin, Italy: G. B. Petrini, 1958.

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    This volume contains eight essays on the Decameron, some previously published. The author investigates the Decameron’s structures, characters, language, and rhetoric to define an interior unity to the varied stories.

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  • Marchesi, Simone. Stratigrafie decameroniane. Biblioteca di Lettere Italiane 64. Florence: L. S. Olschki, 2004.

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    This author proposes as the basis for reading the Decameron the programmatic imposition of open interpretation of the novellas. Boccaccio does not fix meaning in his text but layers his text with meanings that the readers can activate according to their own reading.

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  • Marcus, Millicent Joy. An Allegory of Form: Literary Self-Consciousness in the Decameron. Stanford French and Italian Studies 18. Saratoga, CA: Anma Libri, 1979.

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    This monograph provides close readings of a few stories (I, 1; II, 5, 6, 7; IV, 1; VI, 10; VIII, 3; X, 10), as well as insights into many other stories under the overarching theme of storytelling. Marcus sets out to validate Boccaccio’s elevation of the genre of the novella, much disparaged by critics, both ancient and modern.

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  • Mazzotta, Giuseppe. The World at Play in Boccaccio’s Decameron. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986.

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    This monograph evaluates metaphoric patterns in the Decameron to discover broader meanings from the apparently heterogeneous stories. Mazzotta examines Boccaccio’s language within the framework of intellectual traditions that come together in Boccaccio’s thought.

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  • Migiel, Marilyn. The Ethical Dimension of the Decameron. Toronto Italian Studies. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015.

    DOI: 10.3138/9781442625754Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This monograph proposes reading the Decameron as a challenge to readers and translators to reveal their own ethical prejudices through judgment on the characters’ actions. Migiel proposes the stories not as material to be read and taught; instead, she suggests that Boccaccio hoped to test his readers. The chapters discuss the frame, individual stories, and translations of the text, in order to highlight the varied experiences of reading the text.

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  • Ó Cuilleanáin, Cormac. Religion and the Clergy in Boccaccio’s Decameron. Lettere di Pensiero e d’Arte. Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 1984.

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    The author considers Boccaccio’s use of religious elements in the Decameron. The chapters propose categories of religious experience, church, confession, and sermon, for example, and survey the novellas for their appearance. Ó Cuilleanáin maintains that Boccaccio does not show ideological concern with religion, but instead he explores the religious realities of his day.

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More-Recent Critical Trends: Feminism, Mediterranean Studies, Reception

Barolini 1993 and Migiel 2003 consider gender distinction in Boccaccio’s language and narrative strategies. Stillinger and Psaki 2006 includes essays with feminist readings of the Decameron and other texts by Boccaccio. Kinoshita and Jacobs 2007 reads II, 7, as a brief narrative journey around Boccaccio’s Mediterranean world. Morosini 2010 contains essays on Boccaccio’s geographic knowledge, and Ascoli 1991–1992 describes Boccaccio’s fluctuating identity as a medieval and Renaissance author. Ricketts 1997 traces Boccaccio’s knowledge of and influence on visual culture, from painting to film. Rumble 1996 views Pier Paolo Pasolini’s cinematic adaptation of the Decameron.

  • Ascoli, Albert Russell. “Boccaccio’s Auerbach: Holding the Mirror Up to Mimesis.” Studi sul Boccaccio 20 (1991–1992): 377–397.

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    Ascoli reconsiders Eric Auerbach’s reading of Boccaccio as a realist author, and a precursor of the Renaissance, in light of late-20th-century critical interests of contextualizing Boccaccio as a medieval author. The author compares Auerbach’s treatment of Dante and Boccaccio to illustrate how Boccaccio himself sought to escape critical binaries.

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  • Barolini, Teodolinda. “‘Le parole son donne e i fatti son maschi’: Toward a Sexual Poetics of the Decameron (Dec. II. 10).” Studi sul Boccaccio 21 (1993): 175–197.

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    The author describes and explores the relationship between words and deeds in terms of gender. The article looks at many parts of the Decameron, including novellas from Days II, IV, and VI.

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  • Kinoshita, Sharon, and Jason Jacobs. “Ports of Call: Boccaccio’s Alatiel in the Medieval Mediterranean.” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 37.1 (2007): 163–195.

    DOI: 10.1215/10829636-2006-014Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The essay considers the story of Alatiel’s adventure, Day II, 7, in terms of the historical, political, and economic context of the geography of the Mediterranean.

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  • Migiel, Marilyn. A Rhetoric of the Decameron. Toronto Italian Studies. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003.

    DOI: 10.3138/9781442670457Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study specifically considers Boccaccio’s representation of gender difference in the Decameron, by close reading of Boccaccio’s language, pronouns, and active versus passive voice, for example, as well as through readings of individual novellas and members of the brigata.

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  • Morosini, Roberta, ed. Boccaccio geografo: Un viaggio nel Mediterraneo tra le città, i giardini e . . . il “mondo” di Giovanni Boccaccio. Storie del Mondo 4. Florence: Mauro Pagliai Editore, 2010.

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    Of the nine essays in this volume, only two treat the Decameron exclusively. However, many of the essays offer analysis of stories from the Decameron.

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  • Ricketts, Jill M. Visualizing Boccaccio: Studies on Illustrations of The Decameron, from Giotto to Pasolini. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

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    The author applies feminist theory, psychoanalysis, and film theory to a reading of select stories of the Decameron. She loosely traces visual representations of Boccaccio’s novellas from the Renaissance to modern cinema.

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  • Rumble, Patrick. Allegories of Contamination: Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Trilogy of Life. Toronto Italian Studies. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996.

    DOI: 10.3138/9781442623460Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author discusses Pasolini’s late films, collectively known as La trilogia dell vita, as intentionally anachronistic depictions of medieval texts. The third and fourth chapters focus on Pasolini’s critically acclaimed adaptation of the Decameron.

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  • Sherberg, Michael. The Governance of Friendship: Law and Gender in the Decameron. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2011.

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    The book opens with observations about Boccaccio’s classical ideas of friendship but then broadens the investigation to consider the role of friendship in aspects of governance, both within the confines of the family and without, in larger political groups.

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  • Stillinger, Thomas C., and F. Regina Psaki, eds. Boccaccio and Feminist Criticism. Studi e Testi 8. Chapel Hill, NC: Annali d’Italianistica, 2006.

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    A collection of fifteen essays that foreground the value of gender as a category in reading Boccaccio. The editors maintain that Boccaccio privileged gender as an analytical category in his writing, and they hold this up as the motive for the volume rather than a modern concept of feminist criticism.

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Corbaccio

Anthony Cassell (Cassell 1993) provides an excellent translation of the Corbaccio, with a long introductory essay. Hollander 1988 sums up the critical reception of the Corbaccio and details the many difficult interpretive issues, Illiano 1991 offers a comprehensive analysis of the text, and Veglia 1998 locates the work within Boccaccio’s intellectual and spiritual development. Mazzoni Peruzzi 2001 argues that the Corbaccio participates in the French romance tradition. Psaki 2010 reads the Corbaccio as in dialogue with Petrarch’s Secretum, using irony to reveal the limits of confessional literature, while Maldina 2011 shows Boccaccio’s use of language specific to the homiletics of mendicant preachers in trecento Tuscany.

  • Cassell, Anthony K., ed. and trans. The Corbaccio, or, The Labyrinth of Love. 2d ed. Binghamton, NY: Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1993.

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    Translation based on Tauno Nurmela’s edition; this translation does not offer facing-page Italian text. The volume includes a long introduction to the text. Translation seeks to catch the lively voice of the text.

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  • Hollander, Robert. Boccaccio’s Last Fiction, “Il Corbaccio.” Middle Ages. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988.

    DOI: 10.9783/9781512802665Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study of the Corbaccio sums up the criticism to date, including a very helpful chart of critical conclusions about some of the key issues around the text: the date of composition, whether the text is autobiographical, and whether Boccaccio meant the text as ironic. The introductory essay provides a helpful summary of the plot of the Corbaccio.

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  • Illiano, Antonio. Per l’esegesi del Corbaccio. Dal Certo al Vero 2. Naples, Italy: Federico & Ardia, 1991.

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    Illiano offers a short but comprehensive introduction to the Corbaccio. He proposes thirteen short chapters, more like notes, that take on the many interpretive difficulties of the text.

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  • Maldina, Nicolò. “Retoriche e modelli della predicazione medievale nel Corbaccio.” Studi sul Boccaccio 39 (2011): 155–187.

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    The author considers Boccaccio’s Corbaccio as a homiletic treatise, in light of his taking up of holy orders in 1360. He compares passages from Boccaccio’s text with texts from such contemporary, or nearly contemporary, figures as Bernardino da Siena, Jacobus de Voragine, Girolamo da Siena, and others to identify lexical and thematic similarities.

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  • Mazzoni Peruzzi, Simonetta. Medioevo francese nel Corbaccio. Quaderni degli Studi sul Boccaccio 1. Florence: Le Lettere, 2001.

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    In this monograph the author offers a close and exhaustive reading of the influence of medieval French sources in the Corbaccio. She looks at many works that might have influenced Boccaccio, but focuses most detail on the Roman des sept sages and the Roman de Renart.

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  • Psaki, F. Regina. “Boccaccio’s Corbaccio as a Secret Admirer.” Heliotropia 7.1–2 (2010): 105–132.

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    This article traces the current status of critical response to the Corbaccio, particularly in terms of the presence of irony. The bulk of the article reads the Corbaccio in comparison with Petrarch’s Secretum, positing Boccaccio’s text as a possible imitation, although distant, of Petrarch’s Latin dialogue.

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  • Veglia, Marco. Il corvo e la sirena: Cultura e poesia del Corbaccio. Bibliotechina di Studi Ricerche e Testi 30. Pisa, Italy, and Rome: Istituti Editoriali e Poligrafici Internazionali, 1998.

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    This volume collects four long essays, which have appeared previously, and a new introduction. All the essays touch on the major theme of connecting the Corbaccio to Boccaccio’s other works, not only the Decameron but also his later Latin works.

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Esposizioni sopra la comedia di Dante and Rime

Michael Papio (Papio 2009) provides an excellent translation of the Esposizioni, with attendant commentary and long introductory essay. Padoan 1959 argues that the Esposizioni attests to Boccaccio’s interest in translating his Latin erudition into Italian for lay readers. Olson 2009 looks to the Esposizioni to gauge Boccaccio’s developing understanding of Dante’s political view, and Tufano 2006 locates repeated topoi in Boccaccio’s Rime. Roberto Leporatti (Leporatti 2013) provides a new edition and an important new study of the Rime, while Ferreri 1974 and Suitner 1980 situate Boccaccio’s lyric poetry into the context of contemporaneous styles, particularly the stilnovisti and Petrarch.

  • Ferreri, Rosario. “Sulle Rime del Boccaccio.” Studi sul Boccaccio 8 (1974): 185–196.

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    The article considers Boccaccio’s corpus of lyric poetry, the Rime, and contrasts it with the idyllic and internalized atmosphere of the stilnovistic or Petrarchan tradition, with which Boccaccio was most certainly familiar. Instead, the author argues that Boccaccio’s experience in lively and sensual Naples led to a more vital and sensual poetic style.

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  • Leporatti, Roberto, ed. Rime. Archivio Romanzo 26. Florence: SISMEL, 2013.

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    This volume contains a new critical edition of the Rime of Boccaccio, as well as a long introductory essay on the Rime by Domenico De Robertis. The essay contends that the new edition, which reduces and reorganizes the Rime, represents an important new understanding of Boccaccio’s lyric poetry.

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  • Olson, Kristina Marie. “Resurrecting Dante’s Florence: Figural Realism in the Decameron and the Esposizioni.” Modern Language Notes 124.1 (2009): 45–65.

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    The author offers a reading of Boccaccio’s commentary on Dante’s Commedia as evidence of Dante’s lifelong influence on Boccaccio. The article looks at Boccaccio’s reading and glossing of Dante’s critique of Florence in Inferno XVI, first in the Decameron I, 8; VI, 9; and X, 8, and then in the Esposizioni’s commentary on Inferno XVI.

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  • Padoan, Giorgio. L’ultima opera di Giovanni Boccaccio: Le “Esposizioni sopra il Dante.” Padua, Italy: Cedam, 1959.

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    Padoan’s study of the Esposizioni led to his critical edition of it for Vittore Branca’s series. In this study he persuasively argues that the Esposizioni serves Boccaccio as a vernacular translation of his Latin encyclopedic works, one delivered orally and only slightly later transcribed by Boccaccio himself.

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  • Papio, Michael, ed. and trans. Boccaccio’s Expositions on Dante’s Comedy. Lorenzo da Ponte Italian Library. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009.

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    Translation based on edition by Padoan, included in Branca’s Tutte le opere Giovanni Boccaccio. The original text is not provided. Text preceded by a long introductory essay and is followed by extensive notes, bibliography, and detailed index.

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  • Suitner, Franco. “Sullo stile delle ‘Rime’ e sulle polemiche letterarie riflesse in alcuni sonetti.” Studi sul Boccaccio 12 (1980): 95–128.

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    The article looks across the entire range of Boccaccio’s Rime. Suitner establishes Boccaccio’s acknowledged debt to the other vernacular poets of his day, from the earliest stilnovisti to Dante, Cino da Pistoia, and, most importantly, Petrarch.

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  • Tufano, Ilaria. Quel dolce canto: Letture tematiche delle “Rime” di Boccaccio. Strumenti di Letteratura Italiana 20. Florence: F. Cesati, 2006.

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    After an introduction, in which Tufano summarizes the scholarship on the Rime, she includes seven chapters, each treating a distinct topos in Boccaccio’s lyric poetry. The study identifies themes throughout Boccaccio’s poetry, but it never posits that Boccaccio organized a canzoniere.

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Buccolicum carmen and Epistles

Janet Smarr (Boccaccio 1987) provides the first translation into English of the Buccolicum carmen, with accompanying notes and introduction. Velli 1990 writes a review of Smarr’s translation, detailing some interpretive problems remaining in the text. Leuker 2007 and Usher 2008 contribute short essays to clear up specific interpretive questions concerning Boccaccio’s usage of classical names, and Lorenzini 2010 summarizes post-1990 scholarship on the Buccolicum. Auzzas 1983 comments on the theme of friendship in a few of Boccaccio’s letters; Houston 2012 looks specifically at Boccaccio’s friendship with Petrarch in Letter X.

  • Auzzas, Ginetta. “Quid amicitia dulcius?” In Boccaccio e dintorni. Edited by Vittore Branca, 181–205. Storia, Letteratura, Paleografia 179. Florence: L. S. Olschki, 1983.

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    This article by Auzzas, who provided the critical edition of the Epistles for Branca’s series, looks at Boccaccio’s relationship to Niccolò Acciaiuoli through a few of his letters (V, XIII). The author considers Boccaccio’s understanding and application of classical and Christian concepts of friendship to Acciaiuoli.

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  • Boccaccio, Giovanni. Eclogues. Translated by Janet Levarie Smarr. Garland Library of Medieval Literature A11. New York: Garland, 1987.

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    This translation is based on the edition prepared by Aldo Francesco Massèra in 1928 and includes facing-page original Latin text. The translation is in meter, although in pentameters rather than the original hexameters.

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  • Houston, Jason M. “Boccaccio at Play in Petrarch’s Pastoral World.” Modern Language Notes 127.1 (2012): S47–S53.

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    In this brief article the author considers Boccaccio’s letter to Petrarch in 1353 (Letter X) as a rebuke of the latter’s absence, politically and poetically, from Florence. The author argues that Boccaccio adopted Petrarch’s literary style, the pastoral, in his own letters to engage with him on his own intellectual terms.

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  • Leuker, Tobias. “Due maestri del Boccaccio: Il pappagallo e la fenice nel ritratto allegorico della Napoli di Roberto d’Angiò.” Studi sul Boccaccio 35 (2007): 147–155.

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    In this short note the author provides a new interpretation for a particularly obscure section of Boccaccio’s V eclogue, Silva cadens. Taking his distance from the notes of Georgio Bernardini Perini’s critical edition, Leuker modifies the allegorical interpretation of the forest and of the animals in this poem.

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  • Lorenzini, Simona. “Rassegna di studi sul Boccaccio bucolico.” Studi sul Boccaccio 38 (2010): 153–165.

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    This short study examines articles, book chapters, editions, and translations pertaining to the Buccolicum carmen, with greatest attention to works after 1990.

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  • Usher, Jonathan. “Ischiro donatore di forti archi (Buccolicum carmen XIV, 129).” Studi sul Boccaccio 36 (2008): 111–115.

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    In this brief note, the author investigates the possible etymological derivation of a proper name Boccaccio utilized in his penultimate eclogue, “Olimpia”: “Yschiros.” Usher suggests that Boccaccio found the name in the liturgical tradition around the Holy Friday mass, not in his humanistic studies of classical—in this case, Greek—culture.

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  • Velli, Giuseppe. “A proposito di una recente edizione del Buccolicum carmen del Boccaccio.” Modern Language Notes 105.1 (1990): 33–49.

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    This review article considers Smarr’s translation and edition of the Buccolicum carmen (Boccaccio 1987). Velli compares Smarr’s translation with earlier translations in Italian, pointing out where Smarr, in his opinion, had come closer to understanding Boccaccio’s meaning.

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De montibus and De casibus virorum illustrium

Pastore Stocchi 1963 appraises the transmission history of De montibus; other sections of the book look at Boccaccio’s method of composition and his use of sources. Greppi 2010 imagines a map of the medieval world that is based on Boccaccio’s organization of geographic features. Louis Brewer Hall (Boccaccio 1965) provides the only translation in English of any significant parts of De casibus. Ricci 1962 demonstrates the complex phases of Boccaccio’s writing and rewriting of De casibus, Carraro 1980 categorizes the biographies included by Boccaccio to draw conclusions about Boccaccio’s ethical concerns, and Usher 2002 debates Boccaccio’s reliance on a translation of Homer, the author suggesting instead that Boccaccio used Pseudo-Virgil’s Culex.

  • Boccaccio, Giovanni. The Fates of Illustrious Men. Translated and abridged by Louis Brewer Hall. Milestones of Thought in the History of Ideas. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1965.

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    Based on the edition of Jean de Gourmont and Jean Petit (1520), with some correction from BNP, 6069L. No original Latin text is provided. About half the biographies are included, representing selections from each book. Translator offers a free translation with no attempt to preserve Boccaccio’s complex Latin style.

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  • Carraro, Annalisa. “Tradizioni culturali e storiche nel De casibus.” Studi sul Boccaccio 12 (1980): 197–262.

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    The author of this long study proposes that De casibus represents Boccaccio’s literary and moral orientation in the later years of his life. The article divides the biographical subjects of Boccaccio’s text into broad historical categories: biblical, classical to late classical, medieval, and contemporaneous.

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  • Greppi, Claudio. “Il dizionario geografico di Boccaccio: Luoghi e paesaggi nel De montibus.” In Boccaccio geografo: Un viaggio nel Mediterraneo tra le città, i giardini e . . . il “mondo” di Giovanni Boccaccio. Edited by Roberta Morosini, 89–102. Storie del Mondo 4. Florence: Mauro Pagliai Editore, 2010.

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    The author considers Boccaccio’s De montibus from a perspective other than the philological approach. The dictionary of place names certainly derives from Boccaccio’s reading of classical sources; the author shows how the map reproduces Boccaccio’s own personal knowledge.

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  • Pastore Stocchi, Manlio. Tradizione medievale e gusto umanistico nel “De montibus” del Boccaccio. Padua, Italy: CEDAM, 1963.

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    This volume brings together three essays about De montibus, a text that Pastore Stocchi eventually edited for Vittore Branca’s series. The essays detail Boccaccio’s cultural motivations for producing this geographic encyclopedia. Pastore Stocchi offers a rich discussion of Boccaccio’s medieval and classical sources for De montibus.

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  • Ricci, Pier Giorgio. “Le due redazioni del De casibus.” Rinascimento 13 (1962): 3–29.

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    Through a close examination of philological evidence and the use of cursus in De casibus, the author establishes the order of composition of the two different redactions of Boccaccio’s encyclopedic biographical text. He establishes that the first, short version dates to 1360, while the longer version dates to near the end of Boccaccio’s life, 1373–1374.

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  • Usher, Jonathan. “A Quotation from the Culex in Boccaccio’s De casibus.” Modern Language Review 97.2 (2002): 312–323.

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    The author looks at Boccaccio’s treatment of Homeric characters, specifically Agamemnon in Boccaccio’s De casibus, to evaluate possible sources for Boccaccio and thereby reconsider the dating of the second redaction of the text. Usher shows how the Agamemnon biography borrows not from Homer but from the Pseudo-Virgilian Culex.

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De mulieribus claris

Virginia Brown (Boccaccio 2001) offers the first complete translation for English readers; the volume also includes an introduction and endnotes. Zaccaria 1963 details Boccaccio’s complex process of writing and rewriting the work, and Jordan 1987 reads Boccaccio’s characterization of women’s virtue and vice as misogynist. Kolsky 2003 and Filosa 2012 counter Constance Jordan (and others) and provide detailed studies of Boccaccio’s use of sources and understanding of his audience, both women and men.

  • Boccaccio, Giovanni. Famous Women. Translated and edited by Virginia Brown. I Tatti Renaissance Library 1. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001.

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    The translation is based on the critical edition in Vittore Branca’s series. The volume presents facing-page Latin text. There is a relatively brief introduction in which the translator discusses the perceived discrepancies in Boccaccio’s biographical project on women, both with his other literary work and within De mulieribus.

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  • Filosa, Elsa. Tre studi sul De mulieribus claris. Studi e Ricerche. Milan: LED, 2012.

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    This volume collects three long essays on De mulieribus along with a lengthy introduction, which details the literary context of the work, Boccaccio’s progress in composing and editing the work, the purpose of the work according to Boccaccio, and contemporaneous critical reception of the work.

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  • Jordan, Constance. “Boccaccio’s In-famous Women: Gender and Civic Virtue in the De mulieribus claris.” In Ambiguous Realities: Women in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Edited by Carole Levin and Jeanie Watson, 25–47. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1987.

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    In this article the author considers Boccaccio’s text as an influential contribution to the figuration of women in the Renaissance. She sees Boccaccio’s representation of women as fundamentally ambiguous, offering praise for feminine virtues while condemning women for ambitiously wielding power.

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  • Kolsky, Stephen D. The Genealogy of Women: Studies in Boccaccio’s De mulieribus claris. Studies in the Humanities 62. New York: Peter Lang, 2003.

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    In this wide-ranging study of De mulieribus, the author considers many aspects of the text: Boccaccio’s sources, the text’s supposed misogyny, its relationship to the Decameron, various attempts to find internal structures in the grouping of women, and Boccaccio’s work as evidence of his emerging humanism.

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  • Zaccaria, Vittorio. “Le fasi redazionali del De mulieribus claris.” Studi sul Boccaccio 1 (1963): 252–332.

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    This long and detailed study describes the nine phases of composition, emendation, and revision of De mulieribus that Boccaccio undertook from 1361 until 1366. This article examines the philological evidence of the different phases, focusing most closely on the three main manuscript groups and the internal linguistic evidence.

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Genealogie deorum gentilium libri

Charles Osgood (Osgood 1956) translated and provided commentary on the fourteenth and fifteenth books so that English readers could have Boccaccio’s defense of poetry. Jon Solomon (Boccaccio 2011) produced the first volume of a new translation of the entire work, which contains the first five books. Stone 1998 locates Boccaccio’s understanding of poetry within a broad understanding of nature, while Candido 2009 looks at the development of select classical characters through Boccaccio’s career to the Genealogie. Kriesel 2009 appraises Boccaccio’s defense of poetry, specifically in term of his reliance on allegory, and Lummus 2012 defines Boccaccio’s mythographic method in the Genealogie in terms of medieval and modern methods.

  • Boccaccio, Giovanni. Genealogy of the Pagan Gods. Vol. 1, Books I–V. Edited and translated by Jon Solomon. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011.

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    Contains Books 1–5 of Boccaccio’s works. Edited text based on Vittorio Zaccaria’s edition, included in Vittore Branca’s Tutte le opere di Giovanni Boccaccio. Facing-page original Latin is provided. In line with the series standards, the translation simplifies the difficult and long Latin periods. Contains an introduction.

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  • Candido, Igor. “Amore e Psiche dalle chiose del Laur. 29.2 alle due redazioni delle Genealogie e ancora in Dec. X, 10.” Studi sul Boccaccio 37 (2009): 171–196.

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    In this article, Candido traces the story of Cupid and Psyche from an early appearance in one of Boccaccio’s zibaldone through the Decameron and to his later Latin works. Candido makes the case for the profound engagement that Boccaccio had with Apuleius and his Metamorphoses through his appropriation of this story into his writing.

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  • Kriesel, James C. “The Genealogy of Boccaccio’s Theory of Allegory.” Studi sul Boccaccio 37 (2009): 197–226.

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    This article considers Boccaccio’s theory of literature and allegory; the body of the article looks at his theory of allegory as described in the fourteenth book of the Genealogie. The author concludes that Boccaccio developed a sophisticated literary theory that viewed all texts as open to allegorical interpretation.

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  • Lummus, David. “Boccaccio’s Poetic Anthropology: Allegories of History in the Genealogie deorum gentilium libri.” Speculum 87.3 (2012): 724–765.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0038713412001996Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Lummus shifts critical attention away from the last two books of the Genealogie. He considers the Genealogie as a fundamentally medieval text, utilizing traditional medieval concepts—genealogy, allegorical interpretation, euhemerism—to make the subject, classical myth, more palatable.

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  • Osgood, Charles G., ed. and trans. Boccaccio on Poetry: Being the Preface and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Books of Boccaccio’s Genealogia deorum gentilium. Library of Liberal Arts 82. Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1956.

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    Translation based on Oskar Hecker’s critical edition (1902). The original Latin is not provided. Contains the two books of the Genealogie considered to be Boccaccio’s defense of poetry. Osgood provides a long introductory essay, extensive endnotes, and an index.

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  • Stone, Gregory B. The Ethics of Nature in the Middle Ages: On Boccaccio’s Poetaphysics. New Middle Ages. New York: St. Martin’s, 1998.

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    In this dense but expansive study of the concept of nature in the Middle Ages, Stone adopts Boccaccio’s works, primarily the Genealogie and the Decameron, as the voice for the medieval view, entirely different from the modern concept of nature.

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  • Zaccaria, Vittorio. Boccaccio narratore, storico, moralista e mitografo. Biblioteca di Lettere Italiane 57. Florence: L. S. Olschki, 2001.

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    This volume brings together much of the writing that Zaccaria has published on Boccaccio’s three Latin encyclopedias, but a majority of the writing treats the Genealogie.

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Minor Latin Works

Barsella 2006 and Casella 1982 discuss Boccaccio’s efforts as translator and how these efforts brought him to collaborate with Petrarch. Usher 2005 argues that Boccaccio’s Allegoria mitologica contains autobiographical elements. Lorenzini 2011 provides a critical edition and detailed critical apparatus for Boccaccio’s metrical epistles, and Cachey 2010 discusses Boccaccio’s De canarie as inaugurating the specifically Italian tradition of merchant accounts of the New World.

  • Barsella, Susanna. “Boccaccio, Petrarch, and Peter Damian: Two Models of the Humanist Intellectual.” Modern Language Notes 121.1 (2006): 16–48.

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    This article looks at the interaction between Boccaccio and Petrarch concerning the Vita sanctissima patris Petri Damiani, which Boccaccio found and rewrote at Petrarch’s request. Barsella sees the two different models of humanism represented by Boccaccio and Petrarch, active and solitary, at conflict in the figure of St. Peter Damian.

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  • Cachey, Theodore J., Jr. “Petrarca, Boccaccio e le Isole Fortunate: Lo sguardo antropologico.” In Boccaccio geografo: Un viaggio nel Mediterraneo tra le città, i giardini e . . . il “mondo” di Giovanni Boccaccio. Edited by Roberta Morosini, 205–228. Storie del Mondo 4. Florence: Mauro Pagliai Editore, 2010.

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    The article considers Boccaccio’s De canaria as representative of the sguardo antropologico (anthropologic gaze) of Italian literature. Cachey discusses how Boccaccio’s view of the altro (other)—the indigenous peoples—both participates in early literary convention and informs accounts of New World discovery.

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  • Casella, Maria Teresa. Tra Boccaccio e Petrarca: I volgarizzamenti di Tito Livio e di Valerio Massimo. Studi sul Petrarca 14. Padua, Italy: Antenore, 1982.

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    This study looks to authenticate Boccaccio’s work as a translator, both of Livy’s Decades and Valerius Maximus’s De lingua latina. The study relies on a close linguistic analysis of the two translations to deduce Boccaccio’s authorship. Casella also refers to Boccaccio’s short biography of Livy, which he composed at the time of the translation.

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  • Lorenzini, Simona, ed. La corrispondenza bucolica tra Giovanni Boccaccio e Checco di Meletto Rossi: L’egloga di Giovanni del Virgilio ad Albertino Mussato. Quaderni di Rinascimento 49. Florence: Olschki, 2011.

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    This volume presents a critical edition and commentary of the Latin epistolary eclogues exchanged between Boccaccio and Checco di Meletto. It contains a long introductory essay, in which the author discusses the style of all the poets included.

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  • Usher, Jonathan. “An Autobiographical Phaeton: Boccaccio’s Allegoria mitologica.” In Petrarca e Boccaccio: Modelli letterari fra Medioevo e Umanesimo; Atti della giornata di studi, St Andrews, St Mary’s College, 29 ottobre 1999. Edited by Annalisa Cipollone and Carlo Caruso, 49–89. Contributi e Proposte 65. Alessandria, Italy: Edizioni dell’Orso, 2005.

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    Usher looks at Boccaccio’s early work the Allegoria mitologica as a substantial reworking of the myth of Phaeton taken from Ovid. He argues, furthermore, that Boccaccio’s Phaeton takes on an autobiographical aspect of the young poet himself.

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