Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Boccaccio, The Downfall of the Famous, Published

We are happy to announce our first New York-Bristol UK title: A new edition of Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Downfall of the Famous (De casibus virorum illustrium).

This edition is based on the elegant 1965 translation by Louis Brewer Hall. Hall’s edition was selective, concentrating on classical lives. But Hall did include Boccaccio’s frames: his “visions” of a parade of historical figures passing before him and engaging in lively moral debates; and his direct musings on fame, private and public vice and virtue, and good and bad fortune. In fact, Fortuna emerges as this work’s most important character and theme. Along with contemporaries like Giovanni Villani, Boccaccio saw history and biography as moral arts, underscoring the civic virtues and personal failings of famous men and women, Fortune balancing every success with its inevitable reversal.
Newly typeset and paginated, this volume presents Hall’s complete English translation. It adds numerous historical, biographical, interpretive, and bibliographical notes reflecting a half-century of new Boccaccio scholarship.