Other Literary Forms

(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)
0111201519-Boccaccio.jpg Giovanni Boccaccio (Library of Congress) Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Although Giovanni Boccaccio’s greatest work is the masterfully framed collection of one hundred Italian short stories known as The Decameron, he also left a large and significant corpus of poetry. His earliest poetry, written in Naples, is in Italian and includes the Rime (c. 1330-1340; poems), which comprises more than one hundred lyrics, mostly sonnets and not all of sure attribution. These short poems are largely dedicated to the poet’s beloved Fiammetta, who is identified in some of Boccaccio’s pseudoautobiographical writings as Maria d’Aquino; supposedly, she was the illegitimate daughter of King Robert of Naples, but more probably she was the invention of the poet. Similarly, the longer poem La caccia di Diana (c. 1334; Diana’s hunt), Il filostrato (c. 1335; The Filostrato, 1873), Il filocolo (c. 1336; Labor of Love, 1566), and Teseida (1340-1341; The Book of Theseus, 1974) are all poems ostensibly inspired by Boccaccio’s ardor for Fiammetta, whose name means “little flame.” Other poems that were composed in the 1340’s also treat the formidable power of love and include the Commedia delle ninfe, entitled Il ninfale d’Ameto by fifteenth century copyists (1341-1342; the comedy of the nymphs of Florence), L’amorosa visione (1342-1343; English translation, 1986), Elegia di Madonna Fiammetta (1343-1344; Amorous Fiammetta, 1587), and Il ninfale fiesolano (1344-1346; The Nymph of Fiesole, 1597).