From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
He was a friend and correspondent of Petrarch, an important Renaissance humanist in his own right and author of a number of notable works including On Famous Women, the Decameron and his poetry in the vernacular. Boccaccio's characters are notable for their era in that they are realistic, spirited and clever individuals who are grounded in reality (in contrast to the characters of his contemporaries, who were more concerned with the Medieval virtues of Chivalry, Piety, and Humility).
Boccaccio began work on the Decameron around 1349. It is probable that the structures of many of the tales date from earlier in his career, but the choice of a hundred tales and the frame-story lieta brigata of three men and seven women dates from this time. The work was largely complete by 1352. It was Boccaccio's final effort in literature and one of his last works in Italian, the only other substantial work was Corbaccio (dated to either 1355 or 1365). Boccaccio revised and rewrote the Decameron in 1370-1371. This manuscript has survived to the present day.
In 1359 following a meeting with Pope Innocent VI and further meetings with Petrarch it is probable that Boccaccio took some kind of religious mantle. There is a persistent, but unsupported, tale that he repudiated his earlier works, including the Decameron, in 1362, as profane.
- On Famous Women, edited and translated by Virginia Brown. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001 ISBN 0-674-00347-0 (Latin text and English translation)
- The Decameron, ISBN 0-451-52866-2
- The Life of Dante, translated by Vincenzo Zin Bollettino. New York: Garland, 1990 ISBN 1-84391-006-3
- The Elegy of Lady Fiammetta, edited and translated [from the Italian] by Mariangela Causa-Steindler and Thomas Mauch; with an introduction by Mariangela Causa-Steindler. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990 ISBN 0-226-06276-7
- Consoli, Joseph P. (1992) Giovanni Boccaccio: an Annotated Bibliography. New York: Garland ISBN 0824031474