Thursday, October 1, 2009

Banned, Censored, Challenged: The Decameron

Giovanni Boccaccio wrote this in the 1350s. It is a series of 100 novellas, each presented as a story. A group of 10 young, beautiful people leave the city of Florence to escape the plague. They pass the time telling stories.

The work is said to have influenced Chaucer and was influenced by The Book of Good Love , the 1330 work by Juan Ruiz. The title of the Decameron comes from the Greek words "deca" (10) and day (hemera).

Some of the stories are pious, some are racy. The story takes you into a world that is at once familiar with its worries and dramas but also foreign in the way that historical settings often are.

For me, reading the book as an adolescent, the book was really eye-opening. I literally believed that no one talked about sex until 1990, when the world slid downhill because of Madonna...or something like that...

But it wasn't exactly an open society that Boccaccio released his masterpiece into. The book was burned and banned in Italy in 1497 & 1553. Later still, it would be seized by Detroit , Mich. police (1934), and thanks to the Comstock act, which is no longer enforced, banned from the US postal system.

You can read it online, here, but it's kind of long so you might want to pick up your copy

BTW:did you check out my guest post on Lost in Books. Rebecca is in India, attending her sister's wedding and having a fabulous time, I hope.

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King of New York Hacks said...

thanks, love reading banned books.

sharazad said...

me too :-)