A masterpiece of world literature, most likely written between 1349 and 1351, The Decameron
alternates between tragedy and comedy in its sweeping view of life. Comprising 100 tales told by ten young people who have retreated to the countryside to escape the plague raging through fourteenth-century Florence, the work is a perfect example of classic Italian prose.
This volume contains a carefully chosen selection of 20 of its best-known tales, including those that inspired later works by Chaucer, Shakespeare, Gotthold Lessing, Keats, and other writers. Spiced with humor, rich dialogue, and colorful characters, the stories range from earthy satires to morality tales, from accounts of adulterous love and passion to suspenseful narratives of murder and revenge. Among them are such favorites as "The Pot of Basil," "Patient Griselda," the bawdy "Putting the Devil Back in Hell," "A Wager over Virtue," "The Stone of Invisibility," and "The Wild Hunt."
For this dual-language edition, Stanley Appelbaum has provided an informative, thoughtful introduction and excellent new English translations on pages facing the Italian original. Sure to delight students of Italian language and literature, the volume will appeal as well to readers interested in classic medieval stories.