The English Boccaccio: A History in Books

By Guyda Armstrong

© 2013

The Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio has had a long and colourful history in English translation. This new interdisciplinary study presents the first exploration of the reception of Boccaccio’s writings in English literary culture, tracing his presence from the early fifteenth century to the 1930s. Guyda Armstrong tells this story through a wide-ranging journey through time and space – from the medieval reading communities of Naples and Avignon to the English court of Henry VIII, from the censorship of the Decameron to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, from the world of fine-press printing to the clandestine pornographers of 1920s New York, and much more.

Drawing on the disciplines of book history, translation studies, comparative literature, and visual studies, the author focuses on the book as an object, examining how specific copies of manuscripts and printed books were presented to an English readership by a variety of translators. Armstrong is thereby able to reveal how the medieval text in translation is remade and re-authorized for every new generation of readers.

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Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Italian Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 496 pages
  • Illustrations: 26
  • Dimensions: 6.2in x 1.4in x 9.1in
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  • PUBLISHED FEB 2015

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    Regular Price: $48.95

    ISBN 9781442628779
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Quick Overview

Drawing on the disciplines of book history, translation studies, comparative literature, and visual studies, the author focuses on the book as an object, examining how specific copies of manuscripts and printed books were presented to an English readership by a variety of translators.

The English Boccaccio: A History in Books

By Guyda Armstrong

© 2013

The Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio has had a long and colourful history in English translation. This new interdisciplinary study presents the first exploration of the reception of Boccaccio’s writings in English literary culture, tracing his presence from the early fifteenth century to the 1930s. Guyda Armstrong tells this story through a wide-ranging journey through time and space – from the medieval reading communities of Naples and Avignon to the English court of Henry VIII, from the censorship of the Decameron to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, from the world of fine-press printing to the clandestine pornographers of 1920s New York, and much more.

Drawing on the disciplines of book history, translation studies, comparative literature, and visual studies, the author focuses on the book as an object, examining how specific copies of manuscripts and printed books were presented to an English readership by a variety of translators. Armstrong is thereby able to reveal how the medieval text in translation is remade and re-authorized for every new generation of readers.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Italian Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 496 pages
  • Illustrations: 26
  • Dimensions: 6.2in x 1.4in x 9.1in
  • Reviews

    ‘Some big books are merely big; this one is monumental… This is a masterly contribution not only to Boccaccio scholarship but also to book history, translation studies, reception theory and the understanding of cultural relationships between English-speaking world and Italy. Essential. Graduate students, researchers, faculty.’
    S. Botterill
    Choice Magazine; vol 51:07:14

    ‘This beautifully produced, referenced and indexed volume covers an impressive range from the manuscript tradition to the popular book trade.’


    Anne O'Connor
    Translation Studies September 2014

    ‘Spanning seven centuries of editorial history, Armstrong’s volume offers an invaluable contribution to students and teachers of Boccaccio, whether Italianists or Anglists, as well as to cultural and print historians.’


    Marina Della Putta Johnston
    Modern Language Quarterly vol 110:01:2015

    ‘A monumental work that bridges synchronic and diachronic perspectives, manuscripts and print cultures, medieval and early modern studies, Italian studies, pre-modern and modern literary studies… I shall be hanging very close to my personal, unique, hard copy, as I know I will be coming back to it again and again.’


    Warren Boutcher
    Italian Studies vol69:03:2014

    ‘What emerges from this ambitious work, aside from admiration for Armstrong’s scholarship and translation skills is a new vision of Boccaccio’s relation to English literature.’


    Paul Budra
    University of Toronto Quarterly vol 84:03:2015

    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…. This book stands already as a model for future scholarship on the reception, remediation, and translation of medieval authors and texts.’


    Yuri Cowan
    SHARP News vol 25:01:2016

    “A generous, generative, and magisterial contribution to book history, Boccaccio scholarship, and the long history of English taste; a book of long shelf life that rewards the closest scrutiny. Warmly recommended.”


    David Wallace, Judith Rodin Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania
  • Author Information

    Guyda Armstrong is a senior lecturer in Italian in the School of Arts, Languages, and Cultures at the University of Manchester.
  • Table of contents

    Acknowledgments

    Abbreviations

    Note on Translation and Transcription

    Introduction

    1. “Here begynneth the book callyd J. Bochas”: The De casibus virorum illustrium between Italy and England
      1. The Production Context of Boccaccio’s De casibus virorum illustrium (1360–1373)
      2. Form and Functions of the De casibus’s Internal Structures
      3. The Production Context of Laurent de Premierfait’s Des cas des nobles hommes et femmes (1400–1409)
      4. The Production Context of John Lydgate’s Fall of Princes (1431–1439)
      5. Conclusion
    2. The De mulieribus claris in English Translation, 1440–1550 00
      1. The Production Context of Boccaccio’s De mulieribus claris (1361–1375)
      2. The Middle English Translation of the De mulieribus claris (c. 1440–1460)
      3. Henry Parker, Lord Morley’s Of the Ryghte Renoumyde Ladies (c. 1543)
      4. Conclusion
    3. Boccaccio in Print in the Sixteenth Century
      1. European Romance and the French Sending Culture
      2. The 1560s: Pleasant Reading (The Palace of Pleasure and A Pleasaunt Disport of Diuers Noble Personages)
      3. The 1580s: Amorous Fiammetta
      4. The 1590s: A Famous Tragicall Discourse of Two Lovers, Affrican and Mensola
      5. Conclusion
    4. “One Hundred Ingenious Novels”: Refashioning the Decameron, 1620–1930
      1. The Seventeenth Century: The Translatio Princeps
      2. The Eighteenth Century: Excision and Restoration
      3. The Nineteenth Century: Through the Peephole
        1. Establishing Canonicity: Dubois’s 1804 Edition
        2. The 1820s: Griffin’s Serial Decameron and Sharp’s Decameron
        3. Mid-century Editions and Popular Readerships: Daly, Bohn, and Blanchard
        4. A Limited Licentiousness: John Payne’s Translation
        5. The 1890s: Eroticism and Display
      4. The Twentieth Century: A Multitude of Decamerons
        1. The Decameron in 1930
      5. Conclusion
    5. The Minor Works in the Nineteenth Century: Dante and Chaucer
      1. Neo-medievalism, Dante, and Chaucer
      2. Boccaccio and the Academy: The Case of the Trattatello
      3. Conclusion
    6. The Early Twentieth-Century Recovery of the Minor Works
      1. The Author as Lover: The 1907 Fiammetta
      2. The Latin Boccaccio Rediscovered: Olympia and the Genealogia
      3. Two American Filostratos of the 1920s
      4. The Republication of the Historic English Translations
        1. The Fall of Princes
        2. The De mulieribus claris
        3. The Fiammetta
        4. The Thirteen Questions
      5. Conclusion

    Conclusion

    Bibliography

    Index

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