The Folger Corbaccios

27 04 2011

Or, what a privilege it is to be insulted by Boccaccio.

I made the most of the Folger collections and checked out their Boccaccios. First up was their copy of the 1587 English Amorous Fiammetta, one of only seven extant copies in public libraries. I’ve seen the British Library and the Bodleian copies, so only four to go.

So then I decided to concentrate on their different editions of the Corbaccio, Boccaccio’s misogynist dream-vision, which does exercise the sensitivities of his readerships. I was really excited to find one with copious annotations, giving me some grist for my feminist mill.

The underlined phrase in the dedication reads: ‘è piu d’honore alle femine esser vituperate dalla penna del Boccaccio, che lodate dall’inchiostro di molti scrittori plebei’ (roughly, ‘it does more honour to women to be vituperated by Boccaccio, than praised in the ink of many plebeian writers’).

Where to begin? Sexism is OK from the patrician class? Didn’t we see that on the news today? I suppose I’d better calm down, it’s only a joke, after all. *sighs*

(Grateful thanks to the Folger, for allowing me to take the photo, none the less.)

UPDATE: For international viewers who have no idea what I’m on about, the story is here.


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