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Modern Italy
Journal of Modern Italian Studies
RIVISTA DI STUDI ITALIANI
Anno XXV , n° 2, Dicembre 2007 ( Contributi ) pag. 1-11

FOOD AND FOOD IMAGES IN THE DECAMERON
FRANK CAPOZZI
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Abstract:
There is an old saying that man is what he eats, and the earthly
materialistic characters of Boccaccio's Decameron
spend a considerable amount of time eating delicious dishes and
drinking wine. The Decameron is a mosaic of
Medieval life, where each tessera -- the daily
activities of the characters --
is mentioned and described by Boccaccio, though briefly, to
enrich the realism of the story, and to heighten the appreciation
of the composition, the novella itself. Eating and
drinking are essential functions, not only for health and
strength, but also for pleasure. As Madeleine Peiner Cosman
affirms, "during the Middle Ages beyond mere ingestion for
survival, food and food lore seems to define both person and
culture. Since the medieval calendar alternated culinary
correlatives: feast and fast, fast and feast; and since the
medieval ecology interspersed famine amidst abundance, it is
not surprising to find concern for food in literature and art"
1. In the Decameron Boccaccio
employs food and food images to emphasize and illustrate not
only characters
and social classes, but also the comedy or tragedy of a story;
however, one has to observe that, as Getto says, "la comicità
non scaturisce mai dai cibi e dalle bevande, dal mangiare e dal
bere"2.

Key-words:
Decameron, Ciappelletto, Cisti, Chichibio, gluttony,
Ciacco, Calandrino, Federigo Alberighi, Abbott of Cligní,
Marchesana di Monferrato, Bartolomea, Guglielmo
Guardastagno, Guglielmo Rossiglione.
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