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Tag: Decameron

Vittore Branca. Merchant Writers: Florentine Memoirs from the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Trans. by Murtha Baca

Vittore Branca. Merchant Writers: Florentine Memoirs from the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Trans. by Murtha Baca. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015. x, 407p. ISBN 9781442637146. CAN $75.00 (hardback).

Students, scholars and more casual investigators of the Italian Middle Ages and early Renaissance have good reason to celebrate the publication of Murtha Baca’s expert translation of Vittore Branca’s Mercanti scrittori. If not transformed, our usual notion of the mercantile experience of this period will at least be greatly expanded and enriched by the documents assembled in this volume – ranging from the conduct book-like prescriptions of Paolo da Certaldo’s Book of Good Practices to the picaresque fanfaronade of Bonaccorso Pitti’s Memoirs – produced by the same industrious hands that count out the florins, wield the daggers, and bury the countless victims of violence and plague that darken these pages.

Sarah L. Leonard. Fragile Minds and Vulnerable Souls: The Matter of Obscenity in Nineteenth-Century Germany

Sarah L. Leonard. Fragile Minds and Vulnerable Souls: The Matter of Obscenity in Nineteenth-Century Germany. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015. 272p., ill. ISBN 9780812246704. USD $55.00 (hardback).

This finely researched book examines how obszöne und unzüchtige Schriften [obscene and immoral texts] (2) were treated as a category of print in nineteenth-century Germany. In tracing the legal, intellectual, and material history of this multifarious category as it developed within a complicated geopolitical context, Fragile Minds and Vulnerable Souls makes an important contribution to the histories of obscenity and censorship, and to the history of reading more broadly.

Guyda Armstrong. The English Boccaccio: A History in Books

Guyda Armstrong. The English Boccaccio: A History in Books. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press, 2013. xvi, 496p., with 16p. b&w plates. ISBN 9781442628779. CAD $42.95 (paperback).

Guyda Armstrong’s The English Boccaccio is a splendid example of what can be done with the biography of a text or, in this case, of a corpus of texts. Tracing the history of Boccaccio’s major and minor works as they have appeared in English, this book focuses on the material presentation of editions of those works and, in a series of case studies ranging from the fifteenth to the twentieth centuries, uses them to illuminate the wonderful diversity of ways in which Boccaccio was received in English (and occasionally in and via other languages as well) over a period of some five hundred years.