Presenter Information

Ben Hecko, University of Portland

Start Date

9-4-2021 3:15 PM

End Date

9-4-2021 4:50 PM

Disciplines

History

Subjects

Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375). Decamerone -- Criticism and interpretation, Black Death -- History, European literature -- Renaissance (1450-1600)

Description

Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron is a collection of one hundred stories told by a group of people during the initial outbreak of the Black Death in Italy in 1348. Though the work has been interpreted as an escapist piece, this limits its overall value. Through the inclusion of the frame that surrounds the fictional tales, Boccaccio establishes the importance of the plague to the meaning of the work as a whole. Many of the stories that Boccaccio tells attack the immorality of those in positions of authority. These critiques provide a social commentary that addresses the failures of his society and those that have greater authority within it. Furthermore, the Decameron provides a call to action to generate societal change in the wake of the Black Death. This paper argues that Boccaccio used the instability caused by the Black Death as a means of causing societal change. Through his condemning critique of those in positions of authority, he called for more just leadership from secular and religious leaders. Through a thorough analysis of the work, this paper considers the societal changes that occurred as a result of the plague and connects the overall message to the opportunity presented to Boccaccio.

PART OF SESSION 4C. SICKNESS AND DEATH:

Comment: Tom Taylor, Seattle University
Chair: Alyson Roy, University of Idaho

Ben Hecko, University of Portland, undergraduate student
“Plague and Progress: An Analysis of Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron and Reform during the Initial Outbreak of the Black Death”

Anika Esther Martin, Eastern Washington University, undergraduate student
“The ‘English Bath’: English Sweating Sickness and the 1529 Continental Outbreak”

Patricia A. McManigal, Boise State University, undergraduate student
“The Holodomor: The Trickle-Down effect of Political and Economic Choices”

Brian O’Riley, Eastern Washington University, graduate student
“The Klondike Gold Rush and the Dead Horse Trail”

Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/35232

Included in

History Commons

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Apr 9th, 3:15 PM Apr 9th, 4:50 PM

Plague and Progress: An Analysis of Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron and Reform during the Initial Outbreak of the Black Death

Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron is a collection of one hundred stories told by a group of people during the initial outbreak of the Black Death in Italy in 1348. Though the work has been interpreted as an escapist piece, this limits its overall value. Through the inclusion of the frame that surrounds the fictional tales, Boccaccio establishes the importance of the plague to the meaning of the work as a whole. Many of the stories that Boccaccio tells attack the immorality of those in positions of authority. These critiques provide a social commentary that addresses the failures of his society and those that have greater authority within it. Furthermore, the Decameron provides a call to action to generate societal change in the wake of the Black Death. This paper argues that Boccaccio used the instability caused by the Black Death as a means of causing societal change. Through his condemning critique of those in positions of authority, he called for more just leadership from secular and religious leaders. Through a thorough analysis of the work, this paper considers the societal changes that occurred as a result of the plague and connects the overall message to the opportunity presented to Boccaccio.

PART OF SESSION 4C. SICKNESS AND DEATH:

Comment: Tom Taylor, Seattle University
Chair: Alyson Roy, University of Idaho

Ben Hecko, University of Portland, undergraduate student
“Plague and Progress: An Analysis of Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron and Reform during the Initial Outbreak of the Black Death”

Anika Esther Martin, Eastern Washington University, undergraduate student
“The ‘English Bath’: English Sweating Sickness and the 1529 Continental Outbreak”

Patricia A. McManigal, Boise State University, undergraduate student
“The Holodomor: The Trickle-Down effect of Political and Economic Choices”

Brian O’Riley, Eastern Washington University, graduate student
“The Klondike Gold Rush and the Dead Horse Trail”