Giovanni Boccaccio

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Giovanni Boccaccio (1313 – 21 December 1375)[1] (Italian pronunciation: [bokˈkattʃo]) was an Italian author and poet, a friend, student, and correspondent of Petrarch, an important Renaissance humanist and the author of a number of notable works including the Decameron, On Famous Women, and his poetry in the Italian vernacular. Boccaccio is particularly notable for his dialogue, of which it has been said that it surpasses in verisimilitude that of virtually all of his contemporaries, since they were medieval writers and often followed formulaic models for character and plot.

Contents

Biography

The exact details of his birth are uncertain. A number of sources state that he was born in Paris and that his mother was a Parisian,[2] but others denounce this as a romanticism by the earliest biographers. In this case his birthplace was possibly in Tuscany, perhaps in Certaldo, the town of his father.[3] He was the son of a Florentine merchant and an unknown woman, and almost certainly born illegitimate.[2]

Early life

Boccaccio grew up in Florence. His father was working for the Compagnia dei Bardi and in the 1320s married Margherita dei Mardoli, of an illustrious family. It is believed Boccaccio was tutored by Giovanni Mazzuoli and received from him an early introduction to the works of Dante. In 1326 Boccaccio moved to Naples with the family when his father was appointed to head the Neapolitan branch of his bank. Boccaccio was apprenticed to the bank, but it was a trade for which he had no affinity. He eventually persuaded his father to let him study law at the Studium in the city.[2] For the next six years Boccaccio studied canon law there. From there he pursued his interest in scientific and literary studies.[4]

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