The Decameron

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The Decameron is a classic work of Italian literature, written c.1350-53 by Giovanni Boccaccio.

In the midst of The Black Death, ten wealthy Florentines decamp to the countryside with their retinue, and pass their days in storytelling, an attempt to reclaim a world that everywhere is dying.

Over the course of ten days, the three men and seven women tell a hundred stories, full of generous aristocrats, clever tricks, toilet humor, lustful women, wicked churchmen and lots of illicit sex. Boccaccio himself steps out of the shadows twice (once in the introduction to the fourth day, once in the epilogue) to deliver impassioned, hilarious, self-deprecating, and (in the case of the epilogue) incredibly obscene defenses of his work.

Famous stories include:

  • Day 1, story 1: Ciapelletto, a notoriously wicked Amoral Attorney and scoundrel (he's a murder, forger, perjurer and Depraved Bisexual among many other things) on business to a region he is unknown in and falls terminally ill. His slightly less evil companions bring a monk from a nearby convent to confess him and give him last rites. Ciappelletto proceeds to tell him the most ridiculous lies about his life and how holy he's been the whole time, while pretending to cringe over venial sins. He is completely believed by the friar, who preaches a sermon on his life and ends with everyone there believing him a genuine saint and attributing miracles to him.
  • Day 1, story 2: A Jew converts to Catholicism after seeing the corruption of Rome, reasoning that if Christianity can still spread even when its hierarchy is so sinful, it has to have something else going for it
  • Day 3, story 1: Masetto da Lamporecchio feigns to be dumb to win a seat as gardener in a convent. He ends up having sex with all of the nuns.
  • Day 3, story 10: Long considered the most obscene and was censored or removed in translations for a significant period. Might be a codifier of Is That What They Are Calling It Now.[1]

Tropes used in The Decameron include:
  1. If you must insist: Tunisian girl goes to a nearby Christian monastery because she's heard that the best way of life is to serve God, particularly by sending the Devil back to Hell. Long story short, the monk calls his cock "the Devil" and her pussy "Hell", and he teaches her how to put the Devil back into Hell. She enjoys it so much, she tires the monk out and marries someone who doesn't subsist on limited food.