PHILIP DOSSICK

Peaches and Plumbs Booksellers

A Story of Ravenna

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A Story of Ravenna

2.29

One of the most fascinating and satisfying elements in Boccaccio’s art is his ability to tell a delightful story that is also an erudite and deeply human discussion of the value of communication. So it is with A Story of Ravenna.

While the themes of chivalry and love in these works had long been familiar in courtly circles, Boccaccio enriched them with the fruits of his own acute observation of real life, and sought to present them nobly and illustriously by a display of learning and rhetorical ornament, so as to make his Italian worthy of comparison with the greatest of Latin literature.

It was Boccaccio, too, who raised to literary dignity the verse metre of the popular minstrels, which was eventually to become the characteristic vehicle for Italian verse.

Boccaccio’s early works had an immediate effect outside Italy: Geoffrey Chaucer drew inspiration from Il filostrato for his own Troilus and Criseyde (as William Shakespeare was later to do for Troilus and Cressida) and from Boccaccio’s Teseida for his “Knight’s Tale” in The Canterbury Tales.

Written in the vernacular of the Florentine language, A Story of Ravenna is considered a masterpiece of classical early Italian prose.

Boccaccio has little patience for notions of chastity, pokes fun at hypocritical clerics, and celebrates the power of passion to overcome obstacles and social divisions.
 

GIOVANNI BOCCACCIO (1313-1375) was the creator of numerous works of prose and poetry. Of his achievements, The Decameron, completed sometime between 1350 and 1352, remains his lasting contribution to world literature, enormously popular from its original appearance to the present day.

 

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