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In accordance with our meta agreement to have topic challenges and a later meta agreement to have topic challenges lasting for two months and overlapping by one month, it is time to announce the November–December 2021 topic challenge.

Based on the number of votes (+4), our fiftieth topic challenge will be

Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron

This will be the first topic challenge for Italian literature (), for which we currently have 30 questions.


What's a topic challenge?

See the meta posts linked above, and also this main Meta post. In short, during November and December 2021 you are invited to try to get hold of one of Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron and ask questions about it.

Participation is not obligatory in any sense, and questions on other works are more than welcome during November and December too; they just won't count as part of this topic challenge.

How can I take part?

By getting hold of one of the works of the Decameron and asking good questions about it or by answering questions that have been posted as part of this challange. Questions about these works should be tagged with , and . We'll keep a list of all such questions in an answer to this meta post.

Below is Rand al'Thor's presentation:

This 14th-century work of Italian literature consists of 100 novellas with a frame story of 10 young people sheltering outside Florence from the Black Death and telling each other 10 stories each day for 10 days.

The stories span various genres (or what we would now think of as genres), from tragedies to erotic love stories to life lessons to humorous stories. As a whole, the collection provides an insight into life in Europe during the Black Death pandemic, and into the development of culture and social values in medieval Europe.

It was originally written in Florentine vernacular by Giovanni Boccaccio (the man who added the word "Divine" to Dante's Divine Comedy), and it is also called The Human Comedy in comparison. It is believed to have influenced other important works of literature including Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Various different translations in English exist, composed anywhere from the 17th to 21st centuries, and several of these are available online, such as Rigg's translation which is supposedly one of the good ones (and the same site also includes a lot of discussion and further information).

A topic challenge on The Decameron might enable discussion of various different types of issues, including from one of the worst pandemics in recorded history, both from earlier works (such as The 1001 Nights) to The Decameron and from it to later works (such as The Canterbury Tales), themes and motifs recurring through different stories, etc.

Plus, Wikipedia's information is somewhat incomplete. This could be an opportunity for some of our users to "do a Gilgamesh": doing a lot of background reading for a topic challenge, answering all the questions posted during it, and going to improve Wikipedia and correct errors there.

Beginneth here the book called Decameron, otherwise Prince Galeotto, wherein are contained one hundred novels told in ten days by seven ladies and three young men.

What's next?

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List of all questions posted in this topic challenge

  1. Do the young women and men of the Decameron represent the Virtues and sections of the soul? by Rand al'Thor, 04/11/2021.
  2. What do the names of the Decameron characters signify? by Rand al'Thor, 05/11/2021.
  3. What is meant by "traffic" in this list of men's activities? by Rand al'Thor, 06/11/2021.
  4. What was wrong with becchini? by Rand al'Thor, 11/11/2021.
  5. Cappello, Cepparello, Ciapperello, Ciappelletto - what's it all about? by Rand al'Thor, 13/11/2021.
  6. Why are "Ser" and "San" left untranslated to "Sir" and "Saint"? by Rand al'Thor, 14/11/2021.
  7. Boccaccio's portrayal of the Catholic Church by Rand al'Thor, 15/11/2021.
  8. What is the connection between the chicken banquet and the king's intentions towards the marchioness? by Rand al'Thor, 19/11/2021.
  9. add entries in the form https://literature.stackexchange.com/questions/<question-ID> by [username](https://literature.stackexchange.com/users/<user-ID>), dd/mm/2021.

The highest-voted of these is [question URL], with a score of TBD at the end of December.

The most viewed is [question URL], with approximately TBD views during the months of November and December.

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