While the Black Death rages through 14th-century Florence, a group of young people retreat to the healthful air of the countryside and amuse themselves by telling tales of romance and adventure. This is the premise of Boccaccio's Decameron, a landmark of early Renaissance literature and one of the world's great story collections. Vast in scope, teeming with colorful characters, and rich in worldly wisdom, these 25 tales from the original 100 encompass a variety of genres — folktales, ancient myths, fables, and anecdotes ranging from earthy satires of hypocritical clergy to gripping tales of murder and revenge and stories of passionate love. Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Keats drew upon Boccaccio's masterpiece for inspiration, and the grand old storyteller's fables continue to captivate modern readers.
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