The Brown Italian Studies department has created a bilingual online version of Boccaccio’s Decamerone that has been expanding since its beginnings ten years ago and particularly since it was awarded a two-year grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1999.
Since the project’s inception, it has made substantial progress. There are now well over 300 documents and dozens of images, all designed to provide our visitors with an easily navigable site and abundant information related to the study of Boccaccio’s masterpiece. Though the project was originally produced as a multimedia resource for students here at Brown, it soon became apparent that teachers and students around the world were benefiting from its materials . In response to this demand, we began a series of improvements and additions which, we hope, will make it even more useful to a wide range of users. This expansion is of course an endless endeavor and we depend upon the feedback of our visitors to guide us in the project’s growth.
The basic element is the text (whether you choose the original Italian or the century-old English translation, you can click on the paragraph number to get the corresponding section in the other language); alongside it, they have created a cast of characters (the “brigata”); sections on history, society, religion, and other background areas; a collection of maps (hyperlinked so that if you click on, say, Paris you get not only maps from the medieval and later periods but links to related portions of the text); a section of links to relevant resources (including similar projects such as the Canterbury Tales, the Confessions of Augustine, and others, including the mysterious Zifar or Libro del cauallero de Dios, “generally held to be Castile’s earliest original work of prose fiction,” of which I had never heard), and much else. A remarkable site, whose discovery I owe to a MetaFilter thread by conservative controversialist hama7.