Studies and Texts 229 • x, 216 pp. • ISBN 978-0-88844-229-1 • Cloth • $90
The reader of Boccaccio’s voluminous writings, from the early Filocolo through the Decameron and to the later Epistles, cannot help but marvel at the pervasive engagement with the power and reach of consolation. Time and again, his protagonists suffer heartache and tribulation and seek comfort in the words of others or, significantly, in the reading of literature. These scenes are accompanied, tellingly, by the author’s own declarations for the care and solace of his readers. Although scholars have long recognized its importance, this wide-ranging and multifaceted exploration of the consolatory value of literature has not received the attention it deserves. Boccaccio and the Consolation of Literature is the first sustained study of Boccaccio’s consoling fictions as well as his reflections on the way literature can, and should, offer solace.