More on Boccacio and Ovid

More on Boccaccio and Ovid:

Boccaccio, The Decameron

BoccaccioThis was a prose story collection of one hundred tales (the title means ‘Ten Days'). The text is divided into ten sections, representing ten days. Each ‘day' contains ten stories. Boccaccio attributes each tale on any one day to a different story-teller. His tellers are presented as a group of young aristocrats, male and female, who are spending time at a country house, a healthy place where they hope to escape the plague which is sweeping through Florence.

Comparison with The Canterbury Tales
  • Boccaccio gives each day a theme. He also attempts no social mix. Many of his stories are comic tales of the fabliau type
  • Chaucer's tales are varied in themes and morality. His tellers vary in class and age and there is a far greater variety of genres and styles employed.

It is not certain that Chaucer knew the Decameron, though he knew other works by Boccaccio, including his Filocolo, which also contains inset stories.

Ovid, Metamorphoses

Ovid was one of the greatest Roman poets. The Metamorphoses was a popular collection of stories, widely known during the medieval period. It was certainly known to Chaucer and inspired some of his own poetry.

Comparison with The Canterbury Tales

Metamorphoses is a story collection where all the tales have a unifying feature: they tell of mythic transformations (‘metamorphoses' means changes of shape). The presence of explicit themes contrasts with The Canterbury Tales with its great variety of themes and genres.

Scan and go

Scan on your mobile for direct link.