Thinkery&Verse present “DECAMERON 2020: Survival through Stories” a reading and discussion of Bocaccio’s Decameron as it relates to contemporary pandemic experiences. To reawaken the full sense of Boccaccio’s framing device, our podcast will offer, for the first time, Boccaccio’s Decameron recorded in English with eleven different actors, as opposed to a single reader.

In this interview, J.M. Meyer and Ania Upstill talk to Marianna Iannaccone, a John Florio expert based in Boccaccio’s native Italy.  As you may remember, Italy was the center of the pandemic in Europe in February and March, and implemented some of the strictest control measures outside of China–but they did get the virus under control, a feat which the United States has so far failed to accomplish. John Florio was an Early Modern Englishman of Italian descent who revolutionized the English language with the introduction of more than a 1,000 new words, many of which first appeared in print in his translations of Boccaccio (the author of Decameron) and Montaigne (the great essayist). In our reading of Boccaccio’s Decameron, we use John Florio’s translation. In our interview with Marianna Iannaccone, we discuss the Early Modern world in which John Florio wrote, taught, and operated. Some believe that Florio was the inspiration for Osric, the foppish courtier at the end of Hamlet, but Marianna makes a persuasive case that Florio was an essential part of the the English theater scene. Besides contributing over 1,000 words to the English language, he also seems to have popularized Italian sonnets, and introduced scores of Italian court, dueling, and literary practices into English. Florio collaborated with the great comic playwright, Ben Johnson, and perhaps with William Shakespeare as well. Join us as we learn more about the resolute John Florio. 


00:01:45 How Marianna became a John Florio specialist

00:05:20 Biography of John Florio

00:15:30 The single author bias in Western literature

00:16:24 The tradition of collaboration in the Early Modern period

00:25:50 Influence of Boccaccio on Early Modern Drama

00:31:30 Introducing Commedia dell’arte to English audiences

00:36:35 Shakespeare and Florio

00:40:50 Florio’s loose style of translation

00:45:19 Conditions in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic

00:52:11 A more just post-pandemic world

00:57:21 John Florio on Twitter

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Giovanni Florio, known as John Florio, is recognised as the most important humanist in Renaissance's England.

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