Giovanni Boccaccio

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"Boccaccio" redirects here. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_0

For other uses, see Boccaccio (disambiguation). Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_1

Giovanni Boccaccio_table_infobox_0

Giovanni BoccaccioGiovanni Boccaccio_header_cell_0_0_0
BornGiovanni Boccaccio_header_cell_0_1_0 16 June 1313

Certaldo, Republic of FlorenceGiovanni Boccaccio_cell_0_1_1

DiedGiovanni Boccaccio_header_cell_0_2_0 21 December 1375

(aged 62) Certaldo, Republic of FlorenceGiovanni Boccaccio_cell_0_2_1

OccupationGiovanni Boccaccio_header_cell_0_3_0 Writer, poetGiovanni Boccaccio_cell_0_3_1
NationalityGiovanni Boccaccio_header_cell_0_4_0 ItalianGiovanni Boccaccio_cell_0_4_1
PeriodGiovanni Boccaccio_header_cell_0_5_0 Late Middle AgesGiovanni Boccaccio_cell_0_5_1
RelativesGiovanni Boccaccio_header_cell_0_6_0 Boccaccino di Chellino (father)

Margherita de' Mardoli (stepmother)Giovanni Boccaccio_cell_0_6_1

Giovanni Boccaccio (UK: /bəˈkætʃioʊ/, US: /boʊˈkɑːtʃ(i)oʊ, bə-/, Italian: [dʒoˈvanni bokˈkattʃo; 16 June 1313 – 21 December 1375) was an Italian writer, poet, correspondent of Petrarch, and an important Renaissance humanist. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_2

He was known par excellence as the Certaldese, and one of the most important figures in the European literary panorama of the fourteenth century. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_3

Some scholars (including Vittore Branca) define him as the greatest European prose writer of his time, a versatile writer who amalgamated different literary trends and genres, making them converge in original works, thanks to a creative activity exercised under the banner of experimentalism. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_4

His most notable works are The Decameron, a collection of short stories which in the following centuries was a determining element for the Italian literary tradition, especially after Pietro Bembo elevated the Boccaccia style to a model of Italian prose in the sixteenth century, and On Famous Women. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_5

He wrote his imaginative literature mostly in Tuscan vernacular, as well as other works in Latin, and is particularly noted for his realistic dialogue which differed from that of his contemporaries, medieval writers who usually followed formulaic models for character and plot. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_6

The influence of Boccaccio's works was not limited to the Italian cultural scene but extended to the rest of Europe, exerting influence on authors such as Geoffrey Chaucer, a key figure in English literature, or later on Miguel de Cervantes, Lope de Vega and the Spanish classical theater. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_7

Boccaccio, together with Dante Alighieri and Francesco Petrarca, is part of the so-called "Three Crowns" of Italian literature. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_8

He is remembered for being one of the precursors of humanism, of which he helped lay the foundations in the city of Florence, in conjunction with the activity of his contemporary friend and teacher Petrarch. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_9

He was the one who initiated Dante's criticism and philology: Boccaccio devoted himself to copying codes of the Divine Comedy and was a promoter of Dante's work and figure. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_10

In the twentieth century century Boccaccio was the subject of critical-philological studies by Vittore Branca and Giuseppe Billanovich, and his Decameron was transposed to the big screen by the director and writer Pier Paolo Pasolini. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_11

Biography Giovanni Boccaccio_section_0

Florentine childhood, 1313-1327 Giovanni Boccaccio_section_1

The details of Boccaccio's birth are uncertain. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_12

He was born in Florence or in a village near Certaldo where his family was from. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_13

He was the son of Florentine merchant Boccaccino di Chellino and an unknown woman; he was likely born out of wedlock.} Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_14

Boccaccio's stepmother was called Margherita de' Mardoli. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_15

Boccaccio grew up in Florence. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_16

His father worked for the Compagnia dei Bardi and, in the 1320s, married Margherita dei Mardoli, who was of a well-to-do family. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_17

Boccaccio may have been tutored by Giovanni Mazzuoli and received from him an early introduction to the works of Dante. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_18

In 1326, his father was appointed head of a bank and moved with his family to Naples. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_19

Boccaccio was an apprentice at the bank but disliked the banking profession. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_20

He persuaded his father to let him study law at the Studium, (the present-day University of Naples), where he studied canon law for the next six years. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_21

He also pursued his interest in scientific and literary studies. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_22

His father introduced him to the Neapolitan nobility and the French-influenced court of Robert the Wise (the king of Naples) in the 1330s. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_23

At this time, he fell in love with a married daughter of the king, who is portrayed as "Fiammetta" in many of Boccaccio's prose romances, including Il Filocolo (1338). Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_24

Boccaccio became a friend of fellow Florentine Niccolò Acciaioli, and benefited from his influence as the administrator, and perhaps the lover, of Catherine of Valois-Courtenay, widow of Philip I of Taranto. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_25

Acciaioli later became counselor to Queen Joanna I of Naples and, eventually, her Grand Seneschal. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_26

It seems that Boccaccio enjoyed law no more than banking, but his studies allowed him the opportunity to study widely and make good contacts with fellow scholars. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_27

His early influences included Paolo da Perugia (a curator and author of a collection of myths called the Collectiones), humanists Barbato da Sulmona and Giovanni Barrili, and theologian Dionigi di Borgo San Sepolcro. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_28

Neapolitan adolescence, 1327-1340 Giovanni Boccaccio_section_2

A cosmopolitan environment: self-taught training Giovanni Boccaccio_section_3

Boccaccino wanted his son to enter the profession of merchant, according to the family tradition. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_29

After having made him do a short internship in Florence, in 1327 Boccaccino decided to take his young son with him to Naples, the city where he played the role of business broker for the Bardi family. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_30

Adult years Giovanni Boccaccio_section_4

In Naples, Boccaccio began what he considered his true vocation of poetry. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_31

Works produced in this period include Il Filostrato and Teseida (the sources for Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde and The Knight's Tale, respectively), The Filocolo (a prose version of an existing French romance), and La caccia di Diana (a poem in terza rima listing Neapolitan women). Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_32

The period featured considerable formal innovation, including possibly the introduction of the Sicilian octave, where it influenced Petrarch. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_33

Boccaccio returned to Florence in early 1341, avoiding the plague of 1340 in that city, but also missing the visit of Petrarch to Naples in 1341. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_34

He had left Naples due to tensions between the Angevin king and Florence. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_35

His father had returned to Florence in 1338, where he had gone bankrupt. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_36

His mother died shortly afterward (possibly, as she was unknown – see above). Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_37

Boccaccio continued to work, although dissatisfied with his return to Florence, producing Comedia delle ninfe fiorentine in 1341 (also known as Ameto), a mix of prose and poems, completing the fifty-canto allegorical poem Amorosa visione in 1342, and Fiammetta in 1343. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_38

The pastoral piece "Ninfale fiesolano" probably dates from this time, also. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_39

In 1343, Boccaccio's father remarried to Bice del Bostichi. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_40

His other children by his first marriage had all died, but he had another son named Iacopo in 1344. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_41

In Florence, the overthrow of Walter of Brienne brought about the government of popolo minuto ("small people", workers). Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_42

It diminished the influence of the nobility and the wealthier merchant classes and assisted in the relative decline of Florence. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_43

The city was hurt further in 1348 by the Black Death, which killed some three-quarters of the city's population, later represented in the Decameron. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_44

From 1347, Boccaccio spent much time in Ravenna, seeking new patronage and, despite his claims, it is not certain whether he was present in plague-ravaged Florence. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_45

His stepmother died during the epidemic and his father was closely associated with the government efforts as minister of supply in the city. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_46

His father died in 1349 and Boccaccio was forced into a more active role as head of the family. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_47

Boccaccio began work on The Decameron around 1349. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_48

It is probable that the structures of many of the tales date from earlier in his career, but the choice of a hundred tales and the frame-story lieta brigata of three men and seven women dates from this time. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_49

The work was largely complete by 1352. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_50

It was Boccaccio's final effort in literature and one of his last works in Tuscan vernacular; the only other substantial work was Corbaccio (dated to either 1355 or 1365). Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_51

Boccaccio revised and rewrote The Decameron in 1370–1371. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_52

This manuscript has survived to the present day. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_53

From 1350, Boccaccio became closely involved with Italian humanism (although less of a scholar) and also with the Florentine government. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_54

His first official mission was to Romagna in late 1350. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_55

He revisited that city-state twice and also was sent to Brandenburg, Milan and Avignon. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_56

He also pushed for the study of Greek, housing Barlaam of Calabria, and encouraging his tentative translations of works by Homer, Euripides, and Aristotle. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_57

In these years, he also took minor orders. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_58

In October 1350, he was delegated to greet Francesco Petrarch as he entered Florence and also to have Petrarch as a guest at Boccaccio's home, during his stay. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_59

The meeting between the two was extremely fruitful and they were friends from then on, Boccaccio calling Petrarch his teacher and magister. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_60

Petrarch at that time encouraged Boccaccio to study classical Greek and Latin literature. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_61

They met again in Padua in 1351, Boccaccio on an official mission to invite Petrarch to take a chair at the university in Florence. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_62

Although unsuccessful, the discussions between the two were instrumental in Boccaccio writing the Genealogia deorum gentilium; the first edition was completed in 1360 and this remained one of the key reference works on classical mythology for over 400 years. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_63

It served as an extended defense for the studies of ancient literature and thought. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_64

Despite the Pagan beliefs at its core, Boccaccio believed that much could be learned from antiquity. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_65

Thus, he challenged the arguments of clerical intellectuals who wanted to limit access to classical sources to prevent any moral harm to Christian readers. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_66

The revival of classical antiquity became a foundation of the Renaissance, and his defense of the importance of ancient literature was an essential requirement for its development. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_67

The discussions also formalized Boccaccio's poetic ideas. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_68

Certain sources also see a conversion of Boccaccio by Petrarch from the open humanist of the Decameron to a more ascetic style, closer to the dominant fourteenth century ethos. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_69

For example, he followed Petrarch (and Dante) in the unsuccessful championing of an archaic and deeply allusive form of Latin poetry. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_70

In 1359, following a meeting with Pope Innocent VI and further meetings with Petrarch, it is probable that Boccaccio took some kind of religious mantle. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_71

There is a persistent (but unsupported) tale that he repudiated his earlier works as profane in 1362, including The Decameron. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_72

In 1360, Boccaccio began work on De mulieribus claris, a book offering biographies of one hundred and six famous women, that he completed in 1374. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_73

A number of Boccaccio's close friends and other acquaintances were executed or exiled in the purge following the failed coup of 1361. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_74

It was in this year that Boccaccio left Florence to reside in Certaldo, although not directly linked to the conspiracy, where he became less involved in government affairs. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_75

He did not undertake further missions for Florence until 1365, and traveled to Naples and then on to Padua and Venice, where he met up with Petrarch in grand style at Palazzo Molina, Petrarch's residence as well as the place of Petrarch's library. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_76

He later returned to Certaldo. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_77

He met Petrarch only once again in Padua in 1368. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_78

Upon hearing of the death of Petrarch (19 July 1374), Boccaccio wrote a commemorative poem, including it in his collection of lyric poems, the Rime. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_79

He returned to work for the Florentine government in 1365, undertaking a mission to Pope Urban V. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_80

The papacy returned to Rome from Avignon in 1367, and Boccaccio was again sent to Urban, offering congratulations. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_81

He also undertook diplomatic missions to Venice and Naples. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_82

Of his later works, the moralistic biographies gathered as De casibus virorum illustrium (1355–74) and De mulieribus claris (1361–1375) were most significant. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_83

Other works include a dictionary of geographical allusions in classical literature, De montibus, silvis, fontibus, lacubus, fluminibus, stagnis seu paludibus, et de nominibus maris liber. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_84

He gave a series of lectures on Dante at the Santo Stefano church in 1373 and these resulted in his final major work, the detailed Esposizioni sopra la Commedia di Dante. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_85

Boccaccio and Petrarch were also two of the most educated people in early Renaissance in the field of archaeology. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_86

Boccaccio's change in writing style in the 1350s was due in part to meeting with Petrarch, but it was mostly due to poor health and a premature weakening of his physical strength. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_87

It also was due to disappointments in love. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_88

Some such disappointment could explain why Boccaccio came suddenly to write in a bitter Corbaccio style, having previously written always in praise of women and love. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_89

Petrarch describes how Pietro Petrone (a Carthusian monk) on his death bed in 1362 sent another Carthusian (Gioacchino Ciani) to urge him to renounce his worldly studies. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_90

Petrarch then dissuaded Boccaccio from burning his own works and selling off his personal library, letters, books, and manuscripts. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_91

Petrarch even offered to purchase Boccaccio's library, so that it would become part of Petrarch's library. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_92

However, upon Boccaccio's death, his entire collection was given to the monastery of Santo Spirito, in Florence, where it still resides. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_93

His final years were troubled by illnesses, some relating to obesity and what often is described as dropsy, severe edema that would be described today as congestive heart failure. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_94

He died on 21 December 1375 in Certaldo, where he is buried. Giovanni Boccaccio_sentence_95

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: Boccaccio.