By Giovanni Boccaccio
Published in 1353
Thibault’s Score: 3/5
The Decameron is a collection of 100 tales from the early Italian Renaissance. A group of wealthy young people flee the plague to the countryside and decide to self quarantine. There, they tell each other stories, thus making up the Decameron.
What struck me is how horny this book is. Most of the stories read like modern day trashy romance novels. This is one of the most sexually explicit books I’ve ever read. It was the 50 Shades of Grey of its day.
The target audience is women - in many way it is part of the long tradition of written pornography intended for women that bear the label “romance novels.”
It is fascinating in the sense that it really changes my perspective on the period. Stereotypes about the sobriety of the renaissance are completely blown away.
After reading roughly 1/3 of the book, I decided that it was too much for me and put it down. It was far too much for me.
I recommend reading, at least part, of the Decameron to understand the renaissance better. It is at least worth listening past the first two days to get a sense of the tales told. That will tell you a lot about the views of sex amongst the late midieval Italian elite.
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