#25 – Boccaccio Part One
September 9, 2018
#27 – Boccaccio Part Three
September 23, 2018

#26 – Boccaccio Part Two

  • Let’s talk about the Filocolo
  • The title means “the one struck down by love”.
  • It is considered to be the first novel of Italian literature written in prose.
  • Florio, son of the King of Spain, and Biancifiore, an orphan.
  • They grow up together, get separated, have a lot of adventures, then he searches for her and finds her and they are reunited.
  • The story influenced Chaucer and Shakespeare and many others.
  • Boccaccio and Maria also appear thinly disguised in the novel.
  • Anyway – the novel is packed full of him talking about Maria, who he calls Fiammetta (Italian for “little flame”), about how beautiful she is and how much he (as another character) is in love with her.
  • He writes that her teeth were candid Eastern pearls, her lips, living rubies clear and red, her cheeks, roses mixed with lilies, her hair, all gold like an aureole about her happy face.
  • Around 1334, he first read Petrarch and they started a correspondence.
  • They didn’t meet until 1350.
  • But during this period she doesn’t give him many chances to see her.
  • Finished in 1336 or 1338.
  • He was 23.
  • It took him FIVE YEARS
  • During these years he became so consumed with his mad love for Maria, and his writing, that he finally quit his canon law studies.
  • During this period, he starts work on The FILOSTRATO: The title, a combination of Greek and Latin words, can be translated approximately as “laid prostrate by love”
  • The story goes back to Homer’s Iliad.
  • Which, strangely enough, Boccaccio hadn’t read, because it wouldn’t be translated into Italian until 20 years later – and he was the guy who made that happen.
  • Troilus and Cressida, minor characters in the older stories.
  • Tragic lovers from opposite sides of the tracks, he’s a Trojan, she’s a Greek.
  • Boccaccio is the first person to write an entire story with them as the main characters.
  • Apparently in the same year he finished Filocolo, 1336, he is invited to go on vacation with her a group of her friends to her house near her old convent.
  • And she seems to have given him hope that one day he’d get into her pants.
  • But not quite yet.
  • He says it took 135 days.
  • Not that he was counting.
  • One day while her husband was away, Boccaccio let himself into her bedroom.
  • Probably bribed her maid to help him.
  • He hid himself behind the curtains in the room.
  • Maria came in with her maid, who undressed her and put her into bed, then left, half laughing, half crying.
  • He waited until she was asleep.
  • Then he crawled into bed beside her.
  • He put his arms around her.
  • When she woke up and saw him there, she started to cry out, but he says he shut her mouth with kisses.
  • She tried to escape and get out of bed, but he held her tightly.
  • But then she told him he was wasting his time – because she wouldn’t give up her pussy.
  • So he got out of bed, took a dagger out of his belt, and said:
  • “I come not, O lady, to defile the chastity of thy bed, but as an ardent lover to obtain relief for my burning desires; thou alone canst assuage them, or tell me to die: surely I will only leave thee satisfied or dead not that I seek to gratify my passion by violence or to compel any to raise cruel hands against me; but if thou art deaf to my entreaties with my dagger I shall pierce my heart. “
  • Well she didn’t want a dead man in her room, Wu’s pigs were already full, and it’s so fucking hard to get a bloodstain out of the carpet.
  • So she asked him why he loved her.
  • And he told her the long story of all the years of waiting, hoping.
  • Tragic fucking loser.
  • He asked her again if he should kill himself.
  • She took the dagger and threw it away.
  • And he fell on her and had his way with her.
  • And they are together for about a year.
  • Hiding it from her husband, of course.
  • Then after a year of heavenly bliss, she starts to grow cold and distant.
  • In 1338, she tells him he can’t go to the country vacation with her, because her husband is suspicious.
  • But while she’s away, she has a new lover.
  • And his sorry ass is dumped.
  • Ironically – In the Filostrato, written before this time, Cressida dumps Troilus for another man.
  • So he is heart broken.
  • And decides he’s going to win her back by writing more poetry.
  • But he leaves Naples and returns to Florence around 1340.
  • And he continues to write love poetry which are vaguely concealed autobiographies about his relationship with Maria.
  • Hoping to win her back
  • Unfortunately –
  • She was an accomplice in the 1345 murder of King Andrew, the husband of her niece and Robert’s successor, Queen Joanna I.
  • Which is a good story.
  • Joanna was the fourth but eldest surviving child of Charles, Duke of Calabria (eldest son of King Robert the Wise of Naples), and Marie of Valois (sister of King Philip VI of France).
  • But her father died in 1328 when she was a baby, and she was next in line to the throne of Naples when King Robert, her grandfather, died.
  • The other claimant to the throne would be Andrew, the younger son of Robert’s nephew, Charles I of Hungary.
  • His claim to Naples might be stronger than Joanna’s or even Roberts.
  • So Robert did the only natural thing.
  • He arranged the marriage of Joanna with Andrew.
  • Her… cousin once removed?
  • They were married in 1333 – when she was six years old, he was five.
  • Robert died 10 years later, 1343.
  • When Joanna was 16 and her husband was 15.
  • In his last will and testament, he formally bequeathed his kingdom to Joanna, and made no mention of Andrew, even as a consort, and tried to exclude him from rule.
  • He left Naples under the control of a Regency council until she came of age.
  • But they were useless and the Pope Clement VI, the fourth Avignon pope, took control by sending a Legate, Cardinal Aimery de Châtelus.
  • Almost immediately, the court was involved in violent political struggles among the members of the Angevin house, especially the closest relatives of King Robert’s three brothers.
  • The Angevin were the House of Anjou, from France.
  • Joanna was crowned by the Pope as Queen of Naples on 28 August 1344.
  • Andrew was present in the ceremony and received the title of King, but was excluded from the government.
  • Which kind of pissed him off, and he began to claim a part in the government and the right to be properly crowned.
  • He wrote to his mother, Elizabeth of Poland, Queen of Hungary.
  • She made a state visit to Naples and apparently bribed the Pope to change his mind and permit Andrew’s coronation.
  • She also gave a ring to her son, which was supposed to protect him from death by blade or poison.
  • A magic ring.
  • Joanna wrote to the Pope to say “WTAF dude” and he replied that though Andrew would be crowned, only her coronation would be ‘Blessed by God’.
  • Hearing of the Pope’s reversal, a group of noble conspirators determined to forestall Andrew’s coronation.
  • During a hunting trip at Aversa in 1345, Andrew left his room in the middle of the night from 18 to 19 September and was set upon by the conspirators.
  • A treacherous servant barred the door behind him; and with Joanna in her own bedroom, a terrible struggle ensued, Andrew defending himself furiously and shrieking for aid.
  • He was finally overpowered, strangled with a cord, and flung from a window with a rope tied to his genitals.
  • Isolde, Andrew’s Hungarian nurse, heard his cries, and with her own screams chased the murderers off.
  • She took the Prince’s corpse to the church of the monks, and remained with it until next morning in mourning.
  • When the Hungarian knights arrived she told them everything in their mother tongue so no one else would learn about the truth, and soon they left Naples, telling everything to the Hungarian King.
  • Opinions are divided on the real involvement of the Queen in the assassination.
  • She was acquitted of being involved in it TWICE in her lifetime.
  • But Maria was supposedly involved.
  • And for her involvement in it, she was sentenced to death and beheaded in 1382 on the orders of Queen Joanna I’s successor, King Charles III.
  • Boccaccio was friendly with Joanna, who admired poets and poetry, and it was at her urging that he wrote The Decameron.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *