20 episodes

...while in quarantine!

The Decameron is 14th century Italian collection of short stories, told by characters who are hiding out from the Black Death as it ravages Florence. Join me to listen to the stories in translation, along with commentary, complaints, explanatory notes, exasperation and, well...bitching

Bitching about the Decameron Gwen verch David

    • History
    • 5.0, 4 Ratings

...while in quarantine!

The Decameron is 14th century Italian collection of short stories, told by characters who are hiding out from the Black Death as it ravages Florence. Join me to listen to the stories in translation, along with commentary, complaints, explanatory notes, exasperation and, well...bitching

    When Love Really, Really Doesn't Conquer All

    When Love Really, Really Doesn't Conquer All

    In today's episode, our storytellers continue to try to tell a story miserable enough for Filostrato, who has demanded tales of love that ended unhappily. After skipping story 4.2, 4.3 describes three pairs of teenagers who run away together, but whose happy ending turns to disaster after the eldest of the young men can't keep his eyes off the pretty locals. In story 4.4, two lovers learn of each other through rumour, fall in love based on reputation, and begin a relationship through letters. Before they can ever meet, the woman's marriage is arranged to another, and the man turns to piracy to rescue her - as is fitting for the theme of the day, she is killed during his 'rescue' attempt before they can ever speak to each other.



    CONTENT WARNINGS for first story: Underage relationships - female characters are 14 and 15, age of male characters is unknown but presumed young. Descriptions of verbal abuse of unfaithful spouse. Murder of spouse as revenge for (unconfirmed) infidelity. Mentions of torture of suspected criminals as interrogation technique. Person with power of life and death over one character uses that to convince her underage sister to have sex with him. She is murdered by her husband because of this. 

    CONTENT WARNINGS for second story: Female character is killed by her guards/escorts to prevent her from being kidnapped/rescued by her lover on her way to get married.

    • 32 min
    F*ck the Haters

    F*ck the Haters

    Day four begins with an authorial digression, in which Giovanni explains and disputes the criticism he has been receiving. From there, we launch into our first story of unhappy love (4.1): a true tragedy in which a woman's lover is murdered by her father and she kills herself in response.



    CONTENT WARNING: Obviously, strong warning for suicide. It's fairly specifically described in the text, but I do give a verbal warning and summary before the grisly bits, and there's nothing important you'll miss by skipping the rest of the episode after that. Also gore: the father has the dead lover's heart presented to the protagonist and the text is NOT shy about it. This is also after my verbal warning and summary. 

    • 49 min
    Satisfying the Terms and Conditions

    Satisfying the Terms and Conditions

    Skipping stories 3.8 and 3.10, in this episode we bring the third day to its conclusion with a tale (3.9) about a clever and determined woman, who neatly outmaneuvers her husband so that he is forced to acknowledge her worth and give her the respect she is due.

    CONTENT WARNING: Sex by deceit. The protagonist disguises herself as someone else to trick her husband into consummating their marriage. 

    • 33 min
    Hooray! The dead guy's someone we don't care about!

    Hooray! The dead guy's someone we don't care about!

    In this episode, a particularly long story (3.7) is skimmed, summarised, and bitched at. The protagonist, having been blanked by his lover, disappears for seven years, and comes back to find that he has apparently been recently murdered, and his lover's husband has been convicted of the deed. Rather than clear things up immediately, he takes the opportunity to manipulate everyone involved.

    CONTENT WARNINGS: Manipulative behaviour. The protagonist (in disguise) convinces his lover that he is God's representative and spends a long time berating her for abandoning him in the first place, implying that she had no right to end their relationship.

    Abuse of justice. A character is accused of murder without strong evidence, and it is strongly implied that the accusation is upheld because the magistrates care more about their reputation than the truth.

    • 30 min
    A Better Ride Than A Palfrey

    A Better Ride Than A Palfrey

    Today's stories (3.4 and 3.5) both feature men who managed to arrange liasons with married women under their husbands noses. In the first, the husband is preoccupied by prayer in the next room; in the second, the lover carries on both parts of the conversation himself.

    • 33 min
    Arranging Assignations by Accusation

    Arranging Assignations by Accusation

    In today's story (3.3), a woman decides she wants to have an affair with a particular gentleman. So she informs his friend, a friar, very specifically of all the things he really shouldn't do to such a respectable lady! (The gentleman gets the hint; the friar doesn't.)

    CONTENT WARNING: False accusations of sexual harassment, relying on the fact that the one who is told won't take direct action. 

    • 30 min

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