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REVIEWS to the materials investigated should be that ofanother ill-fitting coat. This review, of course, may be similarly related to its subject. ROY]. PEARCY University of Oklahoma GIOVANNI BOCCACCIO. Amorosa Visione: Bilingual Edition. Trans. RobertHollander, TimothyHampton, and Margherita Frankel, Intro. by Vittore Branca. Hanover and London: University Press of New England, 1986. Pp. xxix, 255. $30.00. Boccaccio's Amorosa Visione sees a worldly dreamer-narrator wandering past triumphs of Wisdom, Fame, Wealth, Love, and Fortune before dis­ covering his beloved in a locus amoenus; there is a surprise ending. The poem, in fifty cantos of terza rima, is not one ofBoccaccio's more accom­ plished performances. Its ambitions are excessive and contradictory: Boc­ caccio wants to be a dreamer in the French ditsamoreuxstyle, a disciple of Dante (who is discovered in the triumph of Wisdom), a mythographer (some three hundred exemplary figures are included) and an autobio­ graphical apologist who gazes at his avaricious father, bewails his own poverty, and contemplates the possibility of artistic fame. At its worst the poem bogs down in a welter of catalogues and mechanical formulas: Boccaccio as Lydgate. And its brighter moments come almost as an escape from the higher design; the mythographical material onJove andJuno, for example, accumulates to form a marital drama that has thecomicvigor ofa Decameron novella. For all its apparent shortcomings, however, this Boc­ caccian text was immensely successful in the Middle Ages and the Renais­ sance; only the Decameron proved more popular. Petrarch, an early admirer, was inspired to compose his own Trionfi. The Boccaccian and Petrarchan poems were subsequently often read as two halves ofa diptych. They exerted a powerful and widespread influence on the visual arts, on Italian poets, and, directly or indirectly, on foreign authors such as Christine de Pisan, Chaucer, Stephen Hawes, and Queen Elizabeth I. Medievalists wishing to consider Chaucer in his European setting will find this new bilingual edition of the Amorosa Visione extremely useful. 193 STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCER Boccaccio's poem survives in two versions: A (represented by eight manu­ scripts but not printed until 1818) and B (no manuscripts; editio princeps 1521). Version A has been assigned to the period 1342-43, and B (in which A is modestly reworked in the direction of expanded humanist schol­ arship), to 1355-60. The B text bears some signs of tinkering by its sixteenth-century editor, Girolamo Claricio. Hollander, Hampton, and Frankel juxtapose Branca's edition ofB with their own English translation. This translation is excellent and should stand as a model for future parallel editions. It remains faithfulnot only to the letterofthe original but also, as far as possible, to its syntax and prosody. Each translated line attempts to keep in step with the Italian: some lines require only six English syllables; some require fourteen. Such a translation allows the English reader to maintain very close contact with Boccaccio's poem. The translation is accurate, and the text is remarkably free from any kind of error. The publishers and sponsors ofthis volume are to be congratulated for produc­ ing an edition that is twice as attractive as the recent Garland Fzlostrato for less than half the price. This edition is accompanied by serviceable notes and is prefaced with an introduction by Vittore Branca (translated from his edition of 1974). This tribute to Branca, the greatest Boccaccio scholar of this century, is a generous one since Branca's views on the Visione often differ from the published opinions of Hollander. The volume also features an index of names (compiled by Olga Branca) which covers both A and B texts. Italian spellings are retained, and the English reader will need to exercise a little ingenuity in tracking down Hercules, Hero, Homer, and Oedipus (Ercole, Ero, Omero, Edipo). But Chaucerians should find Boccaccio's poem well worth reading. The Visione shares a good deal ofcommon ground with the dream poems Chaucer wrote after his first visit to Italy in 1373. In The House ofFame, Chaucer struggles, like Boccaccio before him, to sustain a first encounter with Dante within a French-derived dream-vision format. Both poets evolve a technique ofdescribing paintings to narrate the themes offame, fortune, and disastrous love...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1949-0755
Print ISSN
0190-2407
Pages
pp. 193-195
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
Open Access
No
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