In the summer of 1348, the plague ravages Florence, and ten young Florentines take refuge in the countryside, where they entertain themselves with tales of love, death and corruption, featuring a host of colourful characters from lascivious clergymen and mad kings to devious lovers and false miracle-makers. Named after the Greek for "ten days", Boccaccio's book of stories drew on ancient mythology, recent history and everyday life, leaving an indelible mark on the works of future writers such as Chaucer and Shakespeare.
J.G. Nichols's new translation stays as faithful to the original as possible while being written in a clear and eminently readable modern English, capturing the timeless humour from one of the great original classics of European literature.
'I won’t be so provocative as to call the Decameron a novel. Still, that book is one of the first efforts in modern Europe to create a large-scale composition in narrative prose, and as such it has a place in the history of the novel at least as its source and forerunner.' Milan Kundera
'The first great masterpiece of European storytelling.' Hermann Hesse
'It wasn’t me who chose the Decameron: it was the Decameron that chose me.' Pier Paolo Pasolini
'What struck me about the Decameron, and stayed with me, was an impression of almost incomprehensible richness. It was not a book you could film, or even remember after you had finished reading it, it was only a book to be re-experienced over and over.' Jane Smiley
'One of the greatest writers of all ages.' The New York Times
‘This new translation by J. G. Nichols may be said to improve on the 1972 Penguin translation by G. H. McWilliam which, for all its undoubted brilliance, was marred at times by Latinate locutions and a stilted choice of words. Nichols, a Dante expert, has produced an energetic, racy, rude and occasionally lyrical rendering of the original.’ TLS