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The Boccaccio discussion group will meet the last Thursday of every month from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. in the Seminar Room, unless otherwise specified.

In 2020–2021 the Boccaccio discussion group continues its reading (in English translation) of Boccaccio’s Decameron, the author’s brilliant collection of a hundred tales whose narration is set against the background of the Black Death which ravaged Florence in 1348.

Each month we try to discuss roughly five or six of the Decameron’s stories. When we reach the point where Boccaccio interrupts the Decameron to defend his book and cites Dante, we will also pause to read his Life of Dante (or more accurately, Boccaccio’s Brief Treatise in Dante’s Praise) and consider both what the Decameron owes to Dante’s Comedy and what Dante’s fame and reputation owe to Boccaccio’s tireless campaign on his behalf. Before each meeting, our resident scholar, Todd Boli, will share optional study questions to encourage our engagement with the text, as well as a selection of images to complement our reading and stimulate discussion. As we did with Dante’s Comedy, we will examine the social, political, moral, spiritual, and literary issues that Boccaccio’s Decameron takes on, but we will chiefly devote ourselves to enjoying the vast scope, pointed humor, and lurking seriousness of Boccaccio’s masterpiece. As always, we seek a discussion to which all group members freely contribute their insights, questions, and challenges.

The translation of the Decameron we are using is Giovanni Boccaccio, Decameron, trans. G.H. McWilliam, 2nd ed. (London and New York: Penguin Books, 1995). For Boccaccio’s Life of Dante, we suggest Giovanni Boccaccio, Life of Dante, J.G. Nichols, tr., A.N. Wilson, intr. (London: Hesperus, 2002).

Participants must sign up in advance for the year. There is an annual fee of $100. To be placed on the email list, interested members should contact the group’s administrator at

We offer meetings through a virtual platform and in-person with a hybrid connection. Please contact the group administrator with questions.

2021–2022 Schedule

  • Oct. 28: Day 7, stories 7 through 10 and the Conclusion
  • No November meeting
  • Dec. 2 (N.B. this is the first Thursday): Day 8, Introduction and stories 1 through 6
  • Regularly-scheduled December meeting cancelled
  • Jan. 27: Day 8, stories 7 and 8
  • Feb. 24: Day 8, stories 9 and 10 and the Conclusion; Day 9, Introduction and stories 1 and 2
  • Mar. 31: Day 9, stories 3 through 10 and the Conclusion
  • Apr. 28: Day 10, Introduction and stories 1 through 7
  • May 26: Day 10, stories 8 and 9
  • Jun. 23 (N.B. this is the fourth, not last, Thursday): Day 10, story 10 and the Conclusion; the Author’s Epilogue