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The Decameron (Classic Literature with Classical Music)

By Giovanni Boccaccio, Stephen Thorne (Narrator) & Nickie Rainsford (Narrator)
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Item description for The Decameron (Classic Literature with Classical Music) by Giovanni Boccaccio, Stephen Thorne & Nickie Rainsford...

Here are 16 tales from one of the great works of the Middle Ages. Ten young people have fled for a while the terrible effects of the Black Death in Florence and, in an idyllic setting, tell a series of brilliant stories, by turns humorous, bawdy, tragic and provocative. This celebration of physical and sexual vitality is Boccaccio's answer to the sublime other-worldliness of Dante's "Divine Comdey"...

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Item Specifications...

Format: Abridged,   Audiobook
Studio: Naxos of America
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5.5" Height: 4.75"
Weight:   0.46 lbs.
Binding  CD
Publisher   Naxos of America
ISBN  962634380X  
ISBN13  9789626343807  

Availability  0 units.

More About Giovanni Boccaccio, Stephen Thorne & Nickie Rainsford

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Giovanni Boccaccio was born in Florence, Italy, in 1313, and he died there in 1375. His life thus coincided with the flowering of the early Renaissance and indeed his closest friend was Petrarch, the other towering literary figure of the period. During his lifetime, Boccaccio was a diplomat, businessman, and international traveler, as well as the creator of numerous works of prose and poetry. Of his achievements, The Decameron, completed sometime between 1350 and 1352, remains his lasting contribution immensely popular from its original appearance to the present day to world literature.
Mark Musa is a professor at the Center for Italian Studies at Indiana University. A former Fulbright and Guggenheim Fellow, Musa is the author of a highly acclaimed translation of Dante's Divine Comedy.

Mark Musa and Peter Bondanella are professors at the Center for Italian Studies at Indiana University. Mark Musa, a former Fulbright and Guggenheim Fellow, is the author of a highly acclaimed translation of Dante s Divine Comedy. Peter Bondanella, a former Younger Humanist and Senior Fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities, has published, among other works, Machiavelli and the Art of Renaissance History and Federico Fellini: Essays in Criticism. He is coeditor of The Dictionary of Italian Literature and The Portable Machiavelli."

Giovanni Boccaccio was born in 1313 and died in 1375.

Giovanni Boccaccio has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Penguin Classics
  2. Signet Classics

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Product Categories

1Books > Audio CDs > Literature & Fiction > Classics
2Books > Audio CDs > Literature & Fiction > General
3Books > Audio CDs > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( B ) > Boccaccio, Giovanni
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Classics
6Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Classics
7Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
8Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary
9Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General
10Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Movements & Periods
11Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories > General
12Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories

Reviews - What do customers think about The Decameron (Classic Literature with Classical Music)?

Bawdy tales of love  Apr 30, 2007
This was required reading for a graduate course in medieval history.
The "Decameron" is a collection of 100 novellas by Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio, probably begun in 1350 and finished in 1353. It is a medieval allegorical work best known for its bawdy tales of love, appearing in all its possibilities from the erotic to the tragic. Other topics such as wit and witticism, practical jokes and worldly initiation also form part of the mosaic. Beyond its entertainment and literary popularity, it remains an important historical document of life in the fourteenth century.

Decameron is structured in a frame narrative, or frame tale. Boccaccio begins with a description of the Black Death and leads into an introduction of a group of seven young women and three young men who flee from plague-ridden Florence to a villa in the (then) countryside of Fiesole for two weeks. To pass the time, each member of the party tells one story for each one of the nights spent at the villa. Although fourteen days pass, two days each week are set aside: one day for chores and one holy day during which no work is done. In this manner, 100 stories are told by the end of the ten days. Each of the ten characters is charged as King or Queen of the company for one of the ten days in turn. This charge extends to choosing the theme of the stories for that day, and all but two days have topics assigned: examples of the power of fortune; examples of the power of human will; love tales that end tragically; love tales that end happily; clever replies that save the speaker; tricks that women play on men; tricks that people play on each other in general; examples of virtue. Only Dioneo, who usually tells the tenth tale each day, has the right to tell a tale on any topic he wishes, due to his wit. Each day also includes a short introduction and conclusion to continue the frame of the tales by describing other daily activities besides story telling. These frame tale interludes frequently include transcriptions of Italian folk songs. The interactions among tales in a day, or across days, as Boccaccio spins variations and reversals of previous material, forms a whole and not just a collection of stories. The basic plots of the stories including mocking the lust and greed of the clergy; tensions in Italian society between the new wealthy commercial class and noble families; the perils and adventures of traveling merchants. The title is a portmanteau, or combination of two Greek words meaning "ten" and "day". Boccacio made similar Greek etymological plays of words in his other works. The subtitle is Prencipe Galeotto, which derives from the opening material in which Boccaccio dedicates the work to ladies of the day who did not have the diversions of men (hunting, fishing, riding, falconry) who were forced to conceal their amorous passions and stay idle and concealed in their rooms. Thus, the book is subtitled Prencipe Galeotto, that is Galehaut, the go-between of Lancelot and Guinevere, a nod to Dante's allusion to Galeotto in "Inferno V", who was blamed for the arousal of lust in the episode of Paolo and Francesca.

Throughout Decameron, the mercantile ethic prevails and predominates. The commercial and urban values of quick wit, sophistication, and intelligence are treasured, while the vices of stupidity and dullness are cured, or punished. While these traits and values will seem obvious to the modern reader, they were an emerging feature in Europe with the rise of urban centers and a monetized economic system beyond the traditional rural feudal and monastery systems, which placed greater value on piety and loyalty. Beyond the unity provided by the frame narrative, Decameron provides a unity in philosophical outlook. Throughout runs the common medieval theme of Lady Fortune, and how quickly one can rise and fall through the external influences of the "Wheel of Fortune". Boccaccio had been educated in the tradition of Dante's Divine Comedy, which used various levels of allegory to show the connections between the literal events of the story and the hidden Christian message. However, Decameron uses Dante's model not to educate the reader, but to satirize this method of learning. The Roman Catholic Church, priests, and religious belief become the satirical source of comedy throughout. This was part of a wider historical trend in the aftermath of the Black Death, which saw widespread discontent with the church. Many details of the Decameron are infused with a medieval sense of numerological and mystical significance. For example, it is widely believed that the seven young women are meant to represent the Four Cardinal Virtues (Prudence, Justice, Temperance, and Fortitude) and the Three Theological Virtues (Faith, Hope, and Charity). It is further supposed that the three men represent the classical Greek tripartite division of the soul (Reason, Spirit, and Lust, see Book IV of Republic). Boccaccio himself notes that the names he gives for these ten characters are in fact pseudonyms chosen as "appropriate to the qualities of each". The Italian names of the seven women, in the same (most likely significant) order as given in the text, are: Pampinea, Fiammetta, Filomena, Emilia, Lauretta, Neifile, and Elissa. The men, in order, are: Panfilo, Filostrato, and Dioneo.

Recommended reading for anyone interested in literature and medieval history.

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