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'Few great books like the Decameron have shaped our very notion of storytelling and its crucial role in the negotiation and production of shared social and cultural values. In its hundred stories, shared in ten days by ten young people escaping the Plague in mid-14th-century Florence, it combines sheer entertainment with a meaningful humanistic message. A tribute to human ingenuity, an epic masterpiece of a rising, dynamic mercantile society that pursues pleasure while being threatened by sudden extinction, the Decameron can be read as a transgressive and escapist manual of behavior as well as a breviary of moral predicaments intended for a secular, unprejudiced reader. As one critic (Guido Almansi) put it: "The text can perhaps give the impression of being outrageously amoral; our reading,... Show More


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