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Chaucer, Boccaccio and Dante Reading and Speaking p. 43 Millennium 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Chaucer, Boccaccio and Dante Reading and Speaking p. 43 Millennium 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chaucer, Boccaccio and Dante Reading and Speaking p. 43 Millennium 1

2 Italian literary tradition and its influence on Chaucer’s literary production 2 literary works might have influenced Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales”: – Giovanni Boccaccio’s “Decameron” ( ) – Ser Giovanni Sercambi “Il Novelliere”. (1374) In both works there is the device of the collection of tales. the “Decameron” is structured as a frame story (= a story within a 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. In “Il Novelliere” a series of tales are recounted by a narrator who is on a journey,

3 Italian literary tradition and its influence on Chaucer’s literary production Chaucer was on commercial and diplomatic missions to Italy on different occasions so it is highly probable that he came into contact with the works by Italian writers like Boccaccio, Dante and Petrarch In particular, he might be indebted to: – Boccaccio for the idea of the frame story and the story of Griselda; – Dante for the idea of the pilgrimage (the “Divine Comedy”, in fact, describes Dante’s pilgrimage to the afterlife from Hell through the Purgatry to Heaven). Most important of all, Dante and Boccaccio’s influence is to be found in the use of the vernacular as a literary language: Chaucer, in fact, uses English to tell his stories instead of using classical languages like Latin thus elevating English to the role of a literary language.

4 1.What literary precedents did Chaucer have in the choice of a frame for his collection of tales? Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron and Ser Giovanni Sercambi’s Il Novelliere are The Canterbury Tales literary precedents. 2.Briefly state Boccaccio’s influence on Chaucer. Chaucer is indebted to Boccaccio for the idea of the frame into which he inserted his tales and because one of his tales (the story of Griselda) clearly derives from one of Boccaccio’s novellas. 2.Briefly state Dante’s influence on Chaucer. Chaucer might have taken from Dante’s Divine Comedy the idea of the pilgrimage as a link throughout the tales; also, Chaucer, like Dante, elevated a vernacular language (the language spoken by common people) to the dignity of a literary language. 4.Read the passage from The Canterbury Tales on the next page, then say if there is anything in it which you can relate to your own readings from Decameron or other Italian novellas. Boccaccio’s Decameron is a collection of tales written in prose, while The Canterbury Tales are written in verse. Both Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales and Boccaccio’s Decameron deal with a group of people who have gathered together, but in Boccaccio’s work they all belong to the aristocracy while in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales they represent a heterogeneous society. In The Canterbury Tales the action takes place “on the road”, on the way to Canterbury, while in Boccaccio’s Decameron the action is set in a villa, a closed and isolated place.


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