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However, as I am sure you will know, every man and woman should be equal before the law, and laws must have the consent of those who are affected by them. –Boccaccio

Boccaccio’s Decameron

Through the tales of Ghismonda and Filippa, Boccaccio forces us to interrogate our societal values and scrutinize the hierarchies that structure our world.

Alyssa Granacki, Postdoctoral Ass. at Duke University

1348 – 53 CE

Reading these recent pieces, one might believe that the Decameron is mostly about the Black Death of 1348, but the plague takes up a relatively tiny fraction of the work. After the Introduction, Boccaccio’s brigata—the group of seven young women and three young men who narrate the Decameron’s tales—escapes ravaged Florence. Safely in the countryside, they do not ruminate on the conditions of the plague. They imagine life beyond it. Although Boccaccio laments the dissolution of social bonds in his Introduction, the hundred stories recounted by the brigata raise different questions: Which bonds are worth saving? How should we live? For whom should we have compassion? And how should we structure society once the plague has passed?

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florence, italy

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2020 | Present