Giovanni Boccaccio: The Decameron

(ca. 1350–1353)

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A collection of one hundred novellas, Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron is unanimously considered a fundamental book in the development of Western prose. Written during the Middle Ages, it has deeply influenced various writers from later historical periods, among them, Niccoló Machiavelli, Geoffrey Chaucer, and the English Romantics. The title derives from the Greek for “ten days,” referring to the time employed by the ten narrators (seven women and three men) to tell the one hundred short...