The Italian Novella

Overview

The birth of the Italian novella -- a short prose narrative with roots in medieval folk wisdom and didactic parables -- was among the most significant events that shaped the course of European literature. From high tragedy to raucous ribaldry, from stories of love and adventure to tales of wit and cruelty, almost every modern literary genre draws inspiration from these Italian tales. The novella influenced later writers both in Italy and abroad; Chaucer, Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Lope de Vega reworked and ...
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The Italian Novella

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Overview

The birth of the Italian novella -- a short prose narrative with roots in medieval folk wisdom and didactic parables -- was among the most significant events that shaped the course of European literature. From high tragedy to raucous ribaldry, from stories of love and adventure to tales of wit and cruelty, almost every modern literary genre draws inspiration from these Italian tales. The novella influenced later writers both in Italy and abroad; Chaucer, Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Lope de Vega reworked and retold basic novella plots and narrative situations. This landmark volume comprises the first collection of comprehensive scholarship on the Italian novella, tracing its development from medieval Florence into the High Renaissance. The survey commences with a discussion of the Decameron, Boccaccio's fourteenth-century masterpiece and model of the new prose genre, which featured colorful narration and lively use of the Tuscan vernacular. The focus then moves beyond the medieval paradigm to present original analyses of tales by lesser-known authors, such as Sercambi, Masuccio, Firenzuola, and Straparola, whose work sustained the wit, vitality, and popularity of the novella well into the sixteenth century. Critical examination of representative texts highlights the lusty language and transgressive sexuality of the genre, showcasing pranks, monstrous characters, bestiality, and cross-dressing -- among other eccentricities. The essays repeatedly demonstrate how the novella combines literary entertainment with probing psychological exposition and sharp critiques of human behavior. Although often dismissed as a marginal curiosity, the Italian novella launched a tradition of rich, multilayered storytelling that has commanded a vast readership through the ages. Its unique legacy, unfolded in this collection, deserves to be celebrated.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415937252
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 12/5/2002
  • Series: Garland Medieval Casebooks Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction 1
1 Lies My Father Told Me: Boccaccio's Novelletta of Filippo Balducci and His Son 15
2 The Crisis of Word and Deed in Decameron V, 10 33
3 Master and Servant Roles in the Decameron 49
4 Telling Lies, Telling Lives: Giovanni Sercambi between Cronaca and Novella 69
5 Sercambi's Novelliere and Croniche as Evidence for Musical Entertainment in the Fourteenth Century 81
6 The Lover Praised by the Husband: A Courtly Tale between Exemplum and Novella 105
7 Masuccio Salernitano's Gusto dell'orrido 119
8 Imitation and Subversion of Models in Agnolo Firenzuola's I Ragionamenti 137
9 Alterity and Sexual Transgression in the Sixteenth-Century Tuscan Novella 159
10 Animal Anxieties: Straparola's "Il re porco" 179
11 The Motif of the Woman in Male Disguise from Boccaccio to Bigolina 201
Contributors 219
Author/Title Index 221
Subject Index 231
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