Decameron by Giovanni Bocaccio

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The European Renaissance began in 14th-century Italy with Petrarch and Boccaccio. Prior to the Renaissance, Latin and Provencal were the literary language in Italy. It was only in the 13th century that Italian authors began writing in their native language. In the early Italian Renaissance, much of the focus was on translating and studying classics from antiquity, but soon many writers, not content to rest on the laurels of ancient authors, attempted to integrate the methods and styles of ancient Greeks and classical Rome into their own works. The printing of books initiated an increasing number of works to be published in the Italian language in addition to the Latin and Greek texts that constituted the mainstream of the Italian Renaissance. Petrarch , a key figure in the Renaissance literature is best remembered for the Canzoniere, a collection of love sonnets written in vernacular Italian. Petrarch's friend, Giovanni Boccaccio, was a pre-eminent writer whose fiction,The Decameron is regarded as one of the earliest works of prose writing in Italian. Boccaccio was the master of the spoken language and of the swift, vivid, narrative style which is free from the abundance of ornament. He was also a master of the classical models of select vocabulary as seen in his prefaces to the days and the individual stories. These two aspects of The Decameron made it the origin of Italian literary prose for the following centuries. The work also contains ‘canzone’ – examples of some of Boccaccio’s finest lyric poetry. Stylistically, it is the most perfect example of Italian classical prose, and its influence on Renaissance literature throughout Europe was enormous. Boccaccio was a man of the Renaissance in almost every sense. His humanism comprised the attempt to rediscover and reinterpret ancient texts as well as the attempt to raise literature in the modern Italian language to the level of the classical by setting standards for it and then conforming to those...
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