University of Rochester

EVENT: Annual Classics Reading Event Spotlights Medieval Italy

October 23, 2003

In the 14th century, the Italian writer Boccaccio penned the Decameron, a literary classic structured as 100 traditional tales told over the span of 10 days by a group of young aristocrats who retreated to a country villa to escape the plague.

This year, the Decameron is the subject of the Department of Religion and Classics' annual reading event. From noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 29, faculty, staff, and students will take turns reading some of the Decameron's lively and amusing stories in the Welles-Brown Room of Rush Rhees Library. All the readings will be done in English; visitors can stop by and stay as long as they would like.

Donatella Stocchi-Perucchio, associate professor of Italian, will introduce and offer commentary on the text. In addition, she and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Renato Perucchio will perform a scene from the Decameron in Italian.

The Decameron is an important piece of literature that straddles the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Renaissance, providing a glimpse of human behavior during a time of change in social institutions and values.

The annual Classics Reading Event began in 1999 with a marathon reading of the Odyssey and has featured such ancient texts as Socrates' Apology and Aristophanes' Lysistrata. This year's reading is organized and sponsored by several student organizations: Eta Sigma Phi, the classics honor society; the Religion and Classics Council; and the Medieval Society. For more information, contact the Department of Religion and Classics at x5-5378.