The Decameron of Giovanni Boccaccio, Giovanni Boccaccio, trans. Richard Aldington, illustrated by Rockwell Kent (Garden City Books, Garden City, NY, 1949 [date of illustrations])
9 1/2″ X 6 3/8″, 562pp, hardbound with DJ protected by mylar, green boards with cream spine, great condition, “withdrawn” stamped on bottom edge and inside cover.
This is the popular (at the time) Garden City edition. Superb art deco color illustrations throughout by Rockwell Kent (famous illustrator of Moby Dick and others).
The Decameron, (subtitled Prencipe Galeotto or Prince Galehaut), is a collection of novellas by the 14th-century Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio (1313–1375). The book is structured as a frame story containing 100 tales told by a group of seven young women and three young men sheltering in a secluded villa just outside Florence to escape the Black Death, which was afflicting the city. To make their exile more pleasant each of the ten tells the others one story every day. The Decameron records the narratives of ten days — 100 stories. Boccaccio probably conceived of The Decameron after the epidemic of 1348, and completed it by 1353. These tales run the entire range of human emotion: grief, love, humor, anger, revenge. Many are based on oral folklore. Boccaccio’s ten narrators thus retell already familiar stories about errant priests, rascally husbands, and mischievous wives. Variants of these stories are known in many cultures, but no one formulates them more cleverly or relates them more eloquently than does Boccaccio. In addition to its literary value and widespread influence, it provides a document of life at the time. Written in the vernacular of the Florentine language, it is considered a masterpiece of classical early Italian prose.