New book by Marilyn Migiel examines medieval masterpiece

By: Linda B. Glaser,  A&S Communications
Thu, 09/24/2015

In her new book, The Ethical Dimension of the Decameron, Marilyn Migiel, professor and chair of the Romance Studies department, examines the dialogue about ethical choices that Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron generates for readers.

Throughout her book, Migiel keeps the focus on the experience of readers, on the meanings they find in the Decameron, and on the ideological assumptions they have about the way that a literary text such as the Decameron works. She urges her audience to think about the Decameron as “testing” readers, rather than “teaching” them.

Migiel shows how Boccaccio's literary masterpiece offers readers insights into their own values, biases and decision-making processes. According to Migiel, the Decameron “catches readers as they move through it, obligating them to reveal themselves, inviting them to reflect on how they form assessments, and calling upon them to be mindful of their responsibility to judge patiently and carefully.”

The book offers in-depth rhetorical analyses, written in lively and readable prose. 

Migiel’s previous book on Boccaccio’s work, A Rhetoric of the Decameron, received the MLA’s 2004 Marraro Prize.