THE DECAMERON. Boccaccio Giovanni. Boccaccio, Giovanni () - Italian writer and poet known as the Father of Italian prose. He is regarded as one . The Complete Pier Paolo teshimaryokan.info - Download as PDF File .pdf), Text File . txt) or read online. pasolini. Il Decameron, o Decamerone , è una raccolta di cento novelle scritta da Giovanni spinse la curia romana a chiedere una nuova censura del Decameron.
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Here it is not a tub but a mortar which becomes central to the action: A seemingly conventional courtship sequence turns covertly into an evocation of the threshold between two genres. While a notable consensus agrees that things are changing it remains less clear what. The other story takes place in an unspecified prehistoric past. Rather than true information, this is a kind of pseudo-information. It is based, however, on an obliteration of its prominent theological component. Nor does his skill in the courtroom, by which he has earned so much money, help him in the slightest to win back his unsatisfied wife, Bartolomea, when a virile pirate abducts her.
Cronache in due tempi, Milano, Mondadori, , pp. Yet Mimesis was not translated into Italian until , a decade after it was first published in Switzer- land ; it seems unlikely that his study could have attained the authority necessary to have redirected Italian scholarship on the Decameron so fundamentally before an Italian edition had been produced.
Il Trecento, Milano, Vallardi, , pp. Princeton University Press, This point is well illustrated by the case of Natalino Sapegno who, like many of his academic contemporaries, intervened widely and perceptively in the cultural de- bates in post-war Italy even as he carried on his pioneering work on the Middle Ages. Indeed, after his time in the anti-Fascist Resistance, where he had joined a partisan group made up in part of his students, including Mario Alicata, Carlo Salinari, and version.
James C. Kriesel, Chastening the Corpus: Dainotto, Documento, realismo e reale, in Ripensare il neorealismo: Essays such as Marxismo, cultura, poesia , Nuova cultura , and Ancora sul realismo demonstrate his consistent engagement in the contemporary scene. Indeed, noted Italian medievalists said as much in laying out their vision for renewed literary historiography after the war. To put this another way, Petronio believed that canonical authors like Boccaccio should be re-read not only alongside but as part of the post-war project to create new cultural products.
Nearly four decades later, Petronio would reiterate the same position, stressing that for the intellectuals of his generation the search for new approaches to the canon went hand in hand with the struggle to envision a new society after Fascism. Achille Tartaro, Boccaccio, Palermo, Palumbo, , pp. Boccaccio in the age of Neorealism As the anti-Fascist Resistance reached its triumphant conclusion, Vittore Branca be- gan his academic career, first at the University of Florence, then at the Sorbonne, fi- nally at the University of Padova.
Idem, Cinema controrealista, in his Realismo neorealismo controrealismo, Roma, Lucarini, , pp. Pagine di letteratura militante, Catania, Edizioni del Prisma, , pp.
Marxismo e politica culturale nel dopoguerra e negli anni cinquanta, Napoli, Liguori, ; Mario Sechi, Critica marxista, realismo e politica culturale. Tellingly, the world in which Branca himself studied and wrote was similarly char- acterized by rapid and tumultuous change, and the culture in which Boccaccio Medi- evale was first read and appreciated might likewise be described as one of substantial transition — a transition, as we have seen, that was frequently framed in medieval terms.
Just as Branca worked to situate Boccaccio against and alongside the changing character of his age, therefore, so too is it possible to situate Branca and his contem- porary Boccaccio scholars within the historical upheaval of their era.
To many scholars, the culture and society of the Italian Trecento appeared to demonstrate significant parallels with the new culture and new society that artists and intellectuals were working to create in a liberated Italy.
As a result, the concerns of the post-war moment coloured scholarship on the Italian Middle Ages, accentuating the crises and conflicts of the late medieval period as well as the manner in which Boccaccio and his contemporaries confronted, repre- sented, and worked to overcome those crises. Manlio Pastore Stocchi, Vittore Branca. I critici, Milano, Marzorati, , pp. First, Vigorelli was laying claim to the medieval origins of Neorealism, and presenting post-war Italian cinema as the inheritor of the culture of the Italian Trecento.
What is more, I maintain that Ne- orealism significantly influenced Boccaccio studies, shaping critical approaches to Boccaccio for decades after Related Papers.
Review of Taviani's "Maraviglioso Boccaccio". By Flavia Scaramouche. Boccaccio at , from the American Boccaccio Association Newsletter. By Gur Zak.
Fabio A. Grace, Melancholy, and the Uncanny. Moral advice in the Decameron is not always presented in a straightforward manner.
Dioneo's outrageous illustration of the pious duty of putting the Devil back in Hell is a case in point III We could also mention, among numerous other examples, Emilia's jocular teaching of the prayer to keep the fantasima at bay VII 1. Fiammetta, on the contrary, has a genuine ethical principle to promote, that of moderation in retribution, and that she manages to do. To be sure, the narrative vector of such a principle is comic in nature, and what the characters do is clearly objectionable in terms of conventional morality.
Perhaps because it is presented against the background of the deadly serious story of the widow and the scholar, however, the principle maintains its moral efficacy. It cannot be completely undercut by the playfulness of the exemplum which purports to sustain it.
The first response to appear at the end of a story is a collective one. Usually given by the main narrator rather than a member of the brigata in very synthetic terms, it proves unanimously favorable in most circumstances see, for instance, I 3, 2; V 3, 2.
At times the recorded unanimous reaction can be other than verbal laughter or weeping, such as in IV 2, 2; V 5, 2. The feelings of the whole brigata can also be summarized by one of the narrators III 9, 3. A non-unanimous collective response usually entails a division of sexual difference IX 10, 2; V Concl. Finally, in rare circumstances the report is analytical rather than synthetic: Troppo sarebbe lungo.
X 6, 2 It would take far too long to recount in full the various discussions that now took place amongst the ladies as to whether Gilberto or Messer Ansaldo or the magician had displayed the greater liberality in the affair of Madonna Dianora. Madonna Dianora's adventure has a history which goes back to Boccaccio's early novel, the Filocolo.
There it had taken the guise of a question of love at the Court of Love convened in Naples under the rule of Fiammetta IV The verbal ritual of the Florentine brigata assumes thus, if only briefly, a clear connotation of Court of Love.
Disputing, however, is not a fitting activity for the present gathering. Not surprisingly, it is Fiammetta who intervenes at Panfilos's behest: Such arguments as these are better conducted among scholars in seats of learning than among ourselves, who have quite enough to do in coping with our distaffs and our spindles" The game of covert reference is enlivened by a number of subtleties.
Having evoked the aristocratic world of the Neapolitan Court of Love, Boccaccio has the Florentine namesake of the Neapolitan queen connect the current dispute not to that courtly entertainment, but to scholarly practice. Furthermore, he has her ironically state that she and her companions have enough to do with their distaffs and spindles. Fiammetta proceeds, however, to introduce a story in which the protagonist will be a king, and a king of Naples to boot.
In selecting her story she is influenced by the response which the brigata gave to the previous one: The tranquil gathering must not be disturbed. Even a genteel dispute similar to those held in the Courts of Love is unacceptable.
These passages belong to the realm of individual response, for the narrator responds to her fellow narrators' response, rather than responding to a specific story. Another exceptional analytic response follows the story of Lisabetta da Messina and her lover Lorenzo IV 5. There is no expression of compassion for the protagonists' tragic fate. Filomena had put an end to it observing that it had provided the inspiration for a well-known popular song: IV 5, The girl went on weeping and demanding her pot of basil, until eventually she cried herself to death, thus bringing her illfated love to an end.
But after due process of time, many people came to know of the affair, and one of them composed the song which can still be heard to this day: Whoever it was, Whoever the villain That stole my pot of herbs, etc. Our interest in these passages lies in the emphasis on the identification of sources.
Boccaccio's game of gloss entails a displacement: We are being told how the song was born of the story, or, more precisely, of the events contained in it. This strategy leaves the reader wondering about the origin of the story itself. We cannot help entertaining the possibility that the declared creative sequence from story to song must be reversed in order to begin to understand the story's processes of inventio. It is certainly plausible that the song as a whole, and in particular the lines quoted by Filomena, may have furnished Boccaccio's imagination with essential stimuli for the narrative configuration of IV 5 cf.
Branca , n. Narrating the adventures of Rustico and Alibech he not only accomplishes that practical goal, but also provides the "historical" data on the origin of an expression they may have heard hundreds of times.
First Alibech learns from Rustico how one puts the Devil back in Hell. Then the women of Capsa hear with much delight about that crucial skill from Alibech: Poi l'una. III 10, 35 The story was repeated throughout the town, being passed from one woman to the next, and they coined a proverbial saying there to the effect that the most agreeable way of serving God was to put the devil back in Hell.
The dictum later crossed the sea to Italy, where it survives to this day. Within the context of the authorial processes of inventio it is not the dictum which follows the story, but the opposite. Boccaccio has taken a widely used common expression, one often repeated in popular piety, and endowed it with a jocular historical origin and a scabrous meaning.
The story has, in other words, a phraseological origin, or at least a phraseological elemental narrative component which does not mean that other components do not contribute to its inventio. The issue of verbal or phraseological imagination in general, and in the Decameron in particular, will be discussed in Chapters 4 and 5. For the time being, it will suffice to establish that the discourse of gloss and response which takes place in the cornice is connected with the seminal issue of truthfulness in storytelling.
When Filomena identifies the story of Lisabetta as her source of the song, not only does she infuse reality into the contents of the song she treats them as events which really happened but she also gives a certification of sorts to the reality of the events in Lisabetta's story.
By explicitly linking her story to the song, she is implicitly asserting the factual truth of the story itself. Of course, one could emphasize the irony of two texts, both fictional, each claiming reality relying on the reality of the other. This is a good story, this is a story for the common good, the narrators never tire of repeating.
It is an intuitive truthand one exploited by medieval writers and users of exemplathat an exemplary story which happens to be true, or presented as such, will be more effective. It is also a tenet of classical and medieval rhetoric that a good story one capable of yielding narrative pleasure must be true, or at least have an appearance of truth. Horace's teaching could not be dearer on this point: Elsewhere I have tried to provide a comprehensive critical assessment of the notions of truth and reality in the discursive parts of the Decameron Forni Here, I would like to offer a few examples of the concern for truth in storytelling among the members of the brigata.
My goal is to show how this concern fits within the general rhetorical context of the frame-story. The problem of truthfulness presents itself explicitly several times in the moralizing introductions to the single stories.
Also unbelievable, although in a different way, is Madonna Beritola's story, with its trials, tribulations, and recognitions, that Emilia in turn must insist on the truthfulness of the events: As "una novelletta, non men vera che piacevole" VIII 3, 3 ; "a little story of mine, which is no less true than entertaining" , Elissa presents the adventure of Calandrino and the heliotrope, her assertion of its truthfulness perhaps linked to the incredible stupidity of the protagonist.
Dioneo relates another unlikely episode in his story about Tingoccio who returns from Purgatory to speak with his friend Meuccio: Filostrato invokes truth as well, when recounting the unlikely story of Nathan and Mitridanes, which is set in the Far East.
It may be possible, of course, to apply to the narrators in the Decameron what Cesare Segre observed speaking of storytellers in general: It is a fact that they multiply historical points of reference, that they often base themselves on authorities which do not exist, that their authoritative sources are often made up, that they introduce into their texts the false traces of a history of previous editions; it is a fact, too, that such efforts are multiplied when the subject matter breaks free of the real and the possible.
We should also note that these authentications are often brought forward in undisguised bad faith where playfulness invites amiable complicity. Reflections of unreality are made to play upon simulations of the real. In fact, they can point to covert seminal levels of meaning. Let us turn to Fiammetta's introduction to the fourth and last novella of Calandrino's cycle. The problem which she faces and it is not by chance that it is the eminently authoritative and subtle Fiammetta who is given this charge is that of justifying the return to the already amply utilized lore of the practical jokes inflicted upon the poor Florentine dauber.
She resolves this dilemma by observing that there is no subject among those that have been discussed at length that could not be proposed again with success "dove il tempo e il luogo che quella cotal cosa richiede si sappi per colui che parlar ne vuole debitamente eleggere" IX 5, 3 ; "provided the person by whom it is broached selects the appropriate time and place" Since the brigata convened "per aver festa e buon tempo" IX 5, 4 ; ''for no other purpose than to rejoice and be merry" p.
Having thus justified her choice, Fiammetta concludes with a unique clarification: IX 5, 5 I could easily have told it in some other way, using fictitious names, had I wished to do so; but since by departing from the truth of what actually happened, the storyteller greatly diminishes the pleasure of his listeners, I shall turn for support to my opening remarks, and tell it in its proper form. This is a general, superficial meaning superficial and yet interesting in and of itself to which we must add a specific, less obvious one.
Fiammetta's words are to be connected, that is, to the particular discursive situation in which the novella is being presented. Though it possesses a certain degree of autonomy, this story, like every other story in the Decameron, is a tessera in a series of discursive and narrative mosaics. The smallest mosaic in which it finds a place is the cycle of four stories that have Calandrino as their protagonist: Fiammetta's story can be seen as a reply to those that Elissa, Filomena and Filostrato have already told, not only because of the choice of protagonist, but also because elements from these previous stories are put to use in its configuration.
Presenting a novella that ends with Tessa beating Calandrino, Fiammetta is obeying a structural need. In this final story of the cycle the wife can finally take revenge for the unwarranted beating that she received from her husband in the opening one. Nello, the relative who informs Tessa of Calandrino's affair, makes explicit reference to that beating when exhorting her to take revenge IX 5, Later Tessa, having seen "la Niccolosa addosso, a Calandrino' IX 5, 62 ; "Calandrino lying there on his back, straddled by Niccolosa" , exclaims: This is a reference to the preposterous notion at the core of Filostrato's story in this same Day IX 3.
It is apparent that Fiammetta, the last to speak of Calandrino, delights in using material from the stories that have come before hers. Since the story of the heliotrope has been picked up again, as well as the story of Calandrino's pregnancy, we might wonder what has happened to the story of the stolen pig.
It is likely that Tessa is alluding to it when she throws the epithet "ladro piuvico'' IX 5, 53 ; ''false villain" in her husband's face. Keeping all this in mind, the principle Fiammetta expounds in her introduction"by departing from the truth of what actually happened, the storyteller greatly diminishes the pleasure of his listeners" takes on a more precise contour.
Had she composed her novella "under fictitious names" the enjoyment of the rhetorical and structural configuration of response and closure Calandrino beating his wife in the opening story, Tessa beating her husband in the closing one, etc.
Fiammetta's axiom, which seemed merely to pay conventional homage to the classical and medieval convention on truth and verisimilitude in narratio, reveals now an unexpected meaning. Why would taking distance from truth in storytelling diminish the pleasure?
In this case, in this story, in this cycle of stories, because it would not allow for the full flowering of rhetorical and structural artifice: This reading can be supported with reference to Fiammetta's mention of "tempo" and ''luogo. On the other hand, "tempo" and "luogo" might designate the very moment in which Fiammetta is speaking and the very place where the brigata finds itself with respect to narration. This is where we are, with the sequence of our storiesFiammetta seems to be saying.
And being where we are, this new Calandrino story will be pleasurable, not in spite of our having tapped this source three times before, but for that very reason: Just as in stories such as Lisabetta's and Alibech's, Boccaccio plays with the notion of source, he plays here with that of truth. There the offered origin of a popular song and saying was a screen behind which the origin of the story itself could be glimpsed.
Here the discourse on factual truth points toward a different truth: By doing what he does, by weaving what he weaves, the author tells us covertly, he is being true to the structural requirements of his book. This is textual truth, a highly valued truth for the master story-teller and craftsman, a truth in a way truer than truth. This is truth in rhetorical garb. They are a powerful reminder of what we mean exactly when we identify Boccaccio's work as a novelliere chiuso.
The task of closure is entrusted to the citizens of the framestory: The notion of irony is of paramount importance. There is no need to review the notion that the Decameron is significantly marked by ethical ambiguity, epistemological nonchalance, and refusal of dogmatism. The book not only introduces itself to the reader as entertainment, but it is structured as the sum-total of a number of pleasant social gatherings.
The pleasure enjoyed by the members of the brigata furnishes a pleasurable diversion, particularly to those female readers who are in love and who require the comfort of words cf. The exquisite experience of the young Florentine refugees materializes in light of an ideal which comprises health physical and moral and pleasure.
The program is dearly articulated by the authoritative Pampinea in the early sequences that take place inside the church of Santa Maria Novella: I Intr.
We could go and stay together on one of our various country estates, shunning at all costs the lewd practices of our fellow citizens and feasting and merrymaking as best we may without in any way overstepping the bounds of what is reasonable.
Her suggestion that the brigata elect a sovereign is motivated by her concern about the sustenance of pleasure. As soon as she is elected queen, she puts into effect proper forms of insulation to ensure that the enchantment of the place they have chosena place immune to the horrors of historymay not be broken.
Storytelling is presented by the queen as the best choice among other forms of pastime and diversion such as playing checkerboard games: For the moment, it would surely be foolish of us to venture abroad, this being such a cool and pleasant spot in which to linger. Besides, as you will observe, there are chessboards and other games here, and so we are free to amuse ourselves in whatever way we please.
But if you were to follow my advice, this hotter part of the day would be spent, not in playing games which inevitably bring anxiety to one of the players, without offering very much pleasure either to his opponent or to the spectators , but in telling storiesan activity that may afford some amusement both to the narrator and to the company at large. By the time each of you has narrated a little tale of his own or her own, the sun will be setting, the heat will have abated, and we shall be able to go and amuse ourselves wherever you choose.
Let us, then, if the idea appeals to you, carry this proposal of mine into effect. But I am willing to follow your own wishes in this matter, and if you disagree with my suggestion, let us all go and occupy our time in whatever way we please until the hour of vespers. We may divide our areas of interest into the spheres of inventio and dispositio.
In the first place, storytelling produces pleasure because the individual stories that are told found, selected: Laughter and enjoyment are, simply and directly, a function of their content. The stories contain "sollazzevoli cose" Pr. They would be amusing, that is, even had they not been woven into the daily ritual of narration and conversation.
Not all the stories, however, lend themselves to being classified in this manner, and the exceptions are certainly not negligible. Thus, the program of pleasurable entertainment unfolds without a hitch over the first three Days, until Filostrato, the love-sick king, proposes as topic love stories with a tragic ending. Amorous Fiammetta protests, but eventually complies.
Pampinea, on the other hand, chooses a story that respects the criterion of the tragic ending, but is at odds with the somber spirit of the Day IV 2.
Dioneo exercises his privilege in Day IV by telling a happy story which has an apparent, rather than a real, death at its core and which mocks all of the others. Dioneo's parodic choice leads us to the second sphere of verbal pleasure we intend to explore, that having to do with dispositio. His story of the chest IV 10 is funny, and it would be amusing even if it were told on a different Day. Its humor, however, assumes a heightened tone by virtue of placement: The notion of play is thus expanded to include structural manipulation.
The entertainment of the brigata does take place within a complex ritual of narration and conversation, of proposal and response. Narrative content can be seen as the end of narration as giving pleasure to the extent that it is immediately pleasurable , or as a means allowing for the achievement of a different type of pleasure.
Enjoyment is to be identified in structures as well as in content. At the end of Chapter I, we shed light upon what seemed prima facie a conventional homage to the principle of truthfulness in storytelling. Fiammetta's introduction to IX 5, the last story of the book featuring Calandrino, appeared to convey a covert theorization of structural pleasure.
It is to the Calandrino cycle that we may turn again in order to find a prime example of the typical Decameronian synergy between narrative and structural pleasure. The narrators never tire of drawing attention to the enjoyable quality of the novelle in which he is both protagonist and victim: IX 3, 3 Lovely ladies, that uncouth fellow from the Marches, the judge of whom I spoke to you yesterday, took from the tip of my tongue a story I was on the point of telling you concerning Calandrino.
We have already heard a good deal about Calandrino and his companions, but since anything we may say about him is bound to enhance the gaiety of our proceedings, I shall now proceed to recount the tale I intended to tell you yesterday.
We know, however, that pleasure is produced here in part thanks to a certain number of cohesive elements that allow us to see the series of four stories as a macrotext cf. VIII 3 is the famous opening adventure of the cycle, featuring the ill-fated search for the fabulous heliotrope.
Bruno and Buffalmacco, having duped and severely punished Calandrino for his simple-mindedness, proceed to make fun of him by accusing him of making fun of them. Says Buffalmacco: VIII 3, 57 'Look here, Calandrino, you had no right to play such a mean trick on us, just because you were feeling piqued about something or other.
You talked us into going with you to look for this magic stone, and then, without so much as bidding us fare you well or fare you badly, you left us standing there along the Mugnone like a pair of boobies, and cleared off home. We're not exactly pleased with the way you've behaved: His persecutors now pretend to believe his version: As he gets ready to hit her again, Bruno and Buffalmacco intervene, trying to make him be reasonable.
In this last sequence, his version of the adventure is ostensibly accepted as definitive: If nothing else, the duped Calandrino is left with the conviction that his friends believe him. His consolation is short-lived. The story of the heliotrope seems to end here, but, as we will see, it remains secretly open.
In VIII 6 the story of the stolen pig told by Filomena the perpetrators Bruno and Buffalmacco keep with their tried and true scheme, blame Calandrino for the disappearance of the animal, and accuse him of not wanting to share it with them.
Bruno reminds his victim of the events surrounding the search for the heliotrope, and interprets them in the way Buffalmacco had originally explained them in VIII 3: Remember the time you took us along the Mugnone?
There we were, collecting those black stones, and as soon as you'd got us stranded up the creek without a paddle, you cleared off home, and then tried to make us believe that you'd found the thing. And now that you've given away the pig, or sold it rather, you think you can persuade us, by uttering a few oaths, that it's been stolen.
But you can't fool us any more: As a matter of fact, that's why we took so much trouble with the spell we cast on the sweets; and unless you give us two brace of capons for our pains, we intend to tell Monna Tessa the whole story.
Calandrino must give up. Not only has he failed to persuade his friends of his innocence regarding current events, but he has been found retrospectively guilty. He is now guilty of a misdeed of which he ostensibly had been found innocent at the end of the previous adventure. Will he have the wherewithal to ask himself whether his friends previously had merely pretended to believe him?
Or will he simply maintain that the alleged prank of the pig has now prompted them to revise their view of previous events? What if this is not the first time that the original prank has been thrown back in his face?
Is it possible that the accusation has become commonplace within the time elapsed between the adventure of the heliotrope and the current one? At times it is difficult to resist the temptation to peer into the unwritten: We may notice a resemblance between what Bruno and Buffalmacco do at the level of content let us say their scheming and what Elissa and Filomena do at the level of speech their structural-narrative cooperation.
Because of the association of the two devious friends and the alliance of the two narrators, we perceive Calandrino as doubly victimized. We might say that the borders between narrative play and play within the narrative are blurred, leaving the impression that poor Calandrino really has no chance. He is the victim of persecutors in two worlds: This, too, can be ascribed to entertainment. An equally or perhaps more sophisticated narrative dialogic exchange involves Fiammetta and Filostrato in Days IV and V.
Hence I propose to tell you a very brief tale about a love which, apart from one or two sighs and a moment of fear not unmixed with embarrassment, ran a smooth course to its happy conclusion" Filostrato, like everybody else, presents a story with comedic features, a perilous beginning and a happy ending. His story is intended to provoke laughterand indeed his audience finds it the famous story of the nightingale utterly hilarious.
Fiammetta was among those who reprimanded Filostrato in Day IV. She complained about the cruel topic in her exordium to IV 1. Even a superficial survey of Filostrato's story in Day V shows that it is not simply a response to the criticism for his choice of topic for Day IV but more precisely a response to IV 1, Fiammetta's story of Tancredi and Ghismonda. The story of the nightingale, in which Messer Lizio da Valbona discovers his daughter Caterina in bed with her lover Ricciardo, is a lighthearted, comic retelling of that of Prince Tancredi, who witnesses his daughter Ghismonda having intercourse with Guiscardo.
While presenting imaginative nuclei essentially linked to those found in IV 1, its set of variations ensures a happy rather than a tragic outcome.
On the one hand, the enjoyment of this story is essentially connected to the frequent recourse to amusing sexual metaphors centered on the thematic image of the nightingale.
On the other hand, a game of more or less covert references to a previously narrated text produces delight of a different nature. At the beginning of the story, Ricciardo and Caterina, the comedic doubles of Guiscardo and Ghismonda, rehearse commonplace notions of the rhetoric of seduction: La giovane rispose subito: V 4, Though frequently seized with the longing to speak to her, he was always too timid to do so until one day, having chosen a suitable moment, he plucked up courage and said to her: But you alone can devise the means of saving us both.
Filostrato is depicting two characters who, feeling dangerously close to that tragic world, question their own placement in the world of the comic. Part of the narrator's strategy is to play a rhetorical game along the borders between the fictional and the structural, to give the characters a ghostly awareness of their own situation within the work.
Thanks to a daring artifice, we see in Caterina and Ricciardo a reborn Ghismonda and Guiscardo who cast off the shroud of tragedy as they warily cross into the world where love is supposed to end happily. A seemingly conventional courtship sequence turns covertly into an evocation of the threshold between two genres. This reading can be supported by the phraseological choices found in the crucial scene in which Caterina's parents witness the awakening of the young couple: Quando Ricciardo il vide, parve che gli fosse il cuore del corpo strappato; e levatosi a sedere in su il letto disse: V 4, Nor did they have long to wait before Ricciardo woke up, and on seeing that it was broad daylight, he almost died of fright and called to Caterina, saying: What is to happen to us?
I know that I deserve to die, for I have been wicked and disloyal, and hence you must deal with me as you choose. But I beseech you to spare my life, if that is possible. I implore you not to kill me. Tancredi's actions in IV 1, had an element of savagery that went beyond killing the boy and maiming his corpse.
As Millicent Marcus has observed: He reinstates the heart within the boundaries of metaphorical discourse but, as he does so, he takes us back to the tragic extraction of Guiscardo's heart in Fiammetta's story. Again, we cannot help seeing Guiscardo in Ricciardo. Ricciardo, who seemed wary about his destiny as character at the beginning of the story, feels that the worst may be happening after all. He finds himself thrown back into the world of tragedy: His story responds to Fiammetta's not only at the level of content, but also at that of rhetorical artifice the oscillation between the literal and the metaphorical.
Indeed, she narrates in Day V a story which is connected, at least through a central imaginative nucleus, to that narrated by Filostrato in his. In Fiammeta's story V 9 , Federigo degli Alberighi feeds his beloved monna Giovanna his falcon, the only precious possession left to him after he has spent his entire patrimony in her pursuit.
But, while in IV 9 the final disclosure of the secret causes the woman's suicide, in V 9 it is instrumental in convincing her of her suitor's virtues and in paving the way to the happy ending. It may not be merely accidental that both responsive stories, V 5 and V 9, prominently feature birds the nightingale and the falcon. There is no doubt that the notions of parody and self-parody can be invoked in order to give a first critical assessment of the phenomenon.
The parodic nature of the Decameron as a whole and of its individual stories has been eloquently and persuasively illustrated in recent years by a number of scholars. Not only do we need to identify more targets of Boccaccio's parodic writing, we also must determine what models of parodic writing contributed most to the overall configuration of the book. Some progress on the latter task may be made by focusing on the corone of sonnets on the months of the year written by Folgore da San Gimignano and Cenne da la Chitarra between the last decade of the thirteenth century and the first decades the fourteenth.
It is not unlikely that the beautifully pleasant communal life of the Boccaccian brigata may have been modeled in part on the exquisitely stylized experiences of the brigata that appears in Folgore's sonnets. The fact that the latter's range of activities is more varied Folgore's goal was to list the appropriate pleasant, aristocratic activities for each month of the year does not preclude the possibility.
Michelangelo Picone has highlighted a few interesting and in some cases, compelling verbal correspondences between Folgore's and Boccaccio's descriptions of the locus amoenus a: III, It is also of interest that the activities listed by Folgore for the amorous month of May include conversations, and perhaps storytelling, of an amorous nature.
If Boccaccio was familiar with Folgore's corona of the months, it is likely that he knew the parodic version of the corona penned by the jongleur Cenne da la Chitarra. Cenne's playful transformation of Folgore's plazer in enueg may have spurred Boccaccio's imagination. With V 4 Filostrato produces, as it were, the parodic plazer version of the story IV 1 presented as tragic enueg by Fiammetta. This is not to say that all the contrapuntal configurations with which Boccaccio enriches his book must be explained with reference to Folgore and Cenne.
Nevertheless, we cannot afford to ignore the opportunity for documented understanding provided by texts that must have been extremely appealing to the master storyteller and consummate rhetorician.
Of these, the "prolago" is to be regarded as a pre-narrative introduction. It is the part that gives the essential information about characters and facts, and fades into the first stirrings of action. Bonciani's notion of "prolago" coincides approximately with what modern students of fiction call "initial situation," "background," "background and descriptive material," "exposition," or "introduction.
Greene, among many others, has observed, this part of the story offers a picture of stability, even as it brings to the fore premonitions of change: But the initial equilibrium is nonetheless vulnerable by definition, since it is threatened by those forces or events which set the narrative in action" In the opening tension, which leads to what Bonciani calls "scompiglio," we clearly perceive the tension which is at the heart of the story, that which makes a story a story.
Maurice Valency's definition of the novella aptly captures the nature of the genre: The word nuovo, from which novella is derived, had in its day a variety of connotations. Primarily it meant new; it could mean young, fresh, strange, or extraordinary.
The word novella therefore carried the idea not only of something newa piece of newsbut also of something remarkable, something worth telling.
This something worth telling was usually advanced as fact, and the resulting literary genre was by nature realistic, and could be distinguished from the fiaba which was fantastic. Davis has remarked: Central to the effect of a novella [. On the one hand, the novella is introduced by a narrator in direct rapport with his audience as if he were an oral storyteller almost as if it were part of their lives: On the other hand, it is also something arresting that will take them out of their lives into the realm of the unusual, the strange, the wonderful.
The novella, like many a modern "news" story, dwells on the "strange but true," and is constantly insisting, as it were, on the fictional quality of everyday life. Hence, for instance, its frequent employment of violent dramatic reversal. This simple, structural truth is the point of departure for the considerations assembled in the following pages.
This chapter's general subject will be a crucial zone in the rhetoric of narration of the Boccaccian storytellers: The opening of a story is a privileged space, one that lends itself to a critical discourse which transcends mere questions of narrative sequence and goes to the heart of the narrative act. In particular, our focus will be on phenomena of contextualization. A typical opening procedure used by the narrators in the Decameron is that of evoking a context of conformity around their narrative contents.
Viktor Shklovsky eloquently showed how in literary texts decontextualization is often at work, how the reader is made to see the object as for the first time But the narrators at times employ the inverse strategy, that of showing the object as if for the thousandth time, relegating it to the realm of the ordinary and the indistinct. This narrative necessity of mentioning the unmarked, of rehearsing the unremarkable, constitutes the fundamental interest of the present pages.
The Boccaccian brigata's narrative discourse is marked by the recurrence of conversive segments which situate the content of the stories within a context of normalcy. Musciatto Franzesi, finding himself with a great amount of unfinished business in France which requires immediate attention, chooses a number of agentsCiappelletto is one of themwho will act on his behalf.
As Panfilo presents the initial situation, he discreetly underlies the normality of the occurrence: In both the Decretum and the Decameron, abstract categories — law, literature, harmony, synthesis — are mediated through the particular interpretation of an individual reader, who is forced to pick and choose parts from the whole in order to construct an interpretation.
A Concordia may retain notes of dissonance, and a neatly structured text of one hundred novelle may remain impossibly slippery, but it is a human impulse to attempt to reconcile the contradictions.
Many modern commentators of Dante understand these to be civil and ecclesiastical, whereas scholars of canon law interpret them as the judicial and peni- tential forums within the Church. Boccaccio, too, plays on the ambiguity of the word foro in the phrase that Riccardo di Chinzica, demented and despairing in his old age, repeats at the end of Decameron 2.
According to both readings of foro, Riccardo is correct: Vittore Branca, vol. Mondadori, — All translations from Italian and Latin in this essay, except those of the Decameron, are my own. Einaudi, , rev. Translations are from G. New York: Penguin, In a letter to Mainardo Cavalcanti of , Boccaccio refers to advice given to his friend, who at the time of the letter had just married a distant relative. A Critical Guide to the Complete Works, ed. University of Chicago Press, , Catholic University of America Press, , 98— Brundage notes, writing generally about legal education in the medieval period, that it was fairly common for students not to finish their degrees, since a short period of academic study proved sufficient for the realities of a legal occupation, and few students possessed the financial resources to finish an entire doctorate in canon law.
Princeton University Press, , University of California Press, Ohio State University Press, Finally, Lucia Battaglia Ricci has previously noted that Decameron 2. Michelangelo Picone Firenze: Cesati, , — Ashgate, Cambridge University Press, Winroth hypothesizes, basing his conjecture on the near-absence of Roman law in the first recension and its substantial presence in the second, that the two Decreta may have been written by two different authors or two different teams of authors.
The Decretum is divided into three sections. The first contains distinctiones, dealing with general principles of law, ecclesiastical hierarchy, offices, and discipline. The second section contains 36 causae dealing with a wide array of topics, including simony, heresy, monastic orders, and marriage; the causae that deal with marriage law the Tractatus de matrimonio are CC. Each causa is divided into between 2 and 11 quaestiones.
Dicta are cited as either d. The Decretum has a complicated textual history. The only critical edition of the Decretum is that of Emil Friedberg, first published in Leipzig in and reprinted in Graz: Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt.
Furthermore, his edition lacks the ordinary gloss, which would have accompanied any edition of the Decretum from the s onward. Sommar, The Correctores Romani: Lit Verlag, Catholic University of America Press, , Catholic University of America Press, , 55— University of Chicago Press, , —9. Though the De penitentia appears in Causa 33, it functions as an independent treatise, much like the De consecratione that constitutes the final part of the Decretum.
For a full treatment of the De penitentia and its reception after Gratian, see Larson, Master of Penance. Payer, Sex and the Penitentials: The Development of a Sexual Code, — Toronto: University of Toronto Press, Critical editions and translations of penitentials are scarce, but see John T.
McNeill and Helena M. Gamer, Medieval Handbooks of Penance: Columbia University Press, Editions du Seuil, , — He may not, because it would be hypocritical for him to punish his wife for a crime he is guilty of; this is a promising start, but the quaestio concludes cc.
This is almost precisely the same argument presented by Ambruogiuolo in Decameron 2.
But compare this to both earlier and later language on the conjugal debt, e. Gratian even stipulates that an agreement reached through coercion is not valid C. University of Toronto Press, , Toward a Sexual Poetics of the Decameron Decameron 2. Fordham University Press, , Because it was such a common practice in canon law collections to reuse the work of previous authors, it is important to keep in mind the distinction between fontes materiales and fontes formales.
Material sources are original texts the Bible, a papal letter, a notarial register, etc. Selected Translations, — New Haven: Yale University Press, , 3— Harvard University Press, , Universitetsforlaget, ; Giacomo Todeschini, Ricchezza francescana: Il Mulino, Giorgio Padoan, in Tutte le opere, ed.
This passage mixes naturalistic metaphors with economic ones, and it should be noted that both systems are sexualized: