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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

Note that during the Covid-19 outbreak our meetings are held through a virtual platform.

2021–2022 Schedule

  • Oct. 28
  • No November meeting
  • Dec. 2 (N.B. this is the first Thursday)
  • Regularly-scheduled December meeting cancelled
  • Jan. 27
  • Feb. 24
  • Mar. 31
  • Apr. 28
  • May 26
  • Jun. 23 (N.B. this is the fourth, not last, Thursday)