Tag: medieval

Stories of Quarantine: Boccaccio’s ‘The Decameron’

There is a 700 year old book that has recently been gaining popularity among readers. 14th century Italian writer, Giovanni Boccaccio, wrote “The Decameron” as a way of compiling a series of stories set during the Black Death of 1348.  What about this book is so popular now, you may ask?

image via amazon

In order to understand why, Professor Martin Marafioti of Pace University talks about the book and its relevance now compared to a few months or years ago.  The book title itself stands for “Ten Days,” and as said before, it is a series of stories surrounding the time of the Black Death. Boccaccio tells a story of ten young people residing in northern Florence, Italy, who are facing the difficulties of the plague like many other people. The ten people get together and strategize on the best way to deal with the epidemic illness.


The group knows that it would be best to stay away from other people, but since they lived in such a densely populated city, doing so would be difficult.  After deliberating, they all decided that it would be the best for all of them to leave the city and take shelter in the countryside.  After the group physically leaves both the city and the plague behind them, they now faced another problem: passing time.  After thinking about what they could do, they agreed that something fun to do would be to tell stories.  Like we are doing now with the coronavirus pandemic, finding ways to amuse ourselves while we are quarantined at home like the group of young people in Boccaccio’s book tried to do in their own quarantine.

image via wikipedia

Their rule as this: each story teller would recount only one story per day. Some of the stories are funny, some of them are tragic, some were set in contemporary times, and others were set in the distant past. Even though “The Decameron” is 700 years old, the book has become relevant over and over again through the centuries because of not only the story but the way in which Boccaccio tells the story.  The book has been read, published, and made more widely available during periods of epidemic outbreak. Wonder why? Professor Marafioti had this to say:


“Bocaccio’s formula, his idea of storytelling as distraction in times like this, is something that we continue to use over and over again in our lives.  It’s so important.  We’re doing the same thing now, in 2020, with the outbreak of coronavirus.  People are reaching out to their loved ones, they’re sending letters, they’re journaling, they’re sharing on social media.  So, in many ways, we’re doing the same thing that the young men and women in Bocaccio’s work were doing over 700 years ago.”



Now that’s really interesting.  Essentially, books, and even movies, whose main story circulates around diseases, becomes ever more relevant for those who find themselves in the same situation.  When art imitates reality (known as mimesis, by the way), we may be drawn to said art when we are in the same conditions.  We all want to find ways to escape, to find distraction.  I don’t know about you, but I definitely will be checking out Bocaccio’s book, as I too need some fun things to do while I’m at home. Happy reading!

Enjoying Bookstr? Get more by joining our email list!
Bookstr is community supported. If you enjoy Bookstr’s articles, quizzes, graphics and videos, please join our Patreon to support our writers and creators or donate to our Paypal and help Bookstr to keep supporting the book loving community.
Become a Patron!https://c6.patreon.com/becomePatronButton.bundle.js


Featured image via Kobo

Canceled Film ‘Mouse Guard’ Posts Demo Reel, Showing Us What Could Have Been



The Mouse Guard movie is officially dead. Disney has scrapped Fox’s planned adaptation of the popular graphic novel series by David Petersen. There were hopes the project was just delayed or finding a new home, but alas, the project has officially been canceled. Director Wes Bell confirmed this sad news via Twitter:




While it’s a pity Mouse Guard won’t see the light of day, Petersen also shared some cool stuff that might have represented what the final movie could have looked like. Petersen celebrated the enormous effort the pre-production team had done for the movie in an i09 article in which he showcased sculptures, pre-production art, and the studio that would have been used. The demo reel made for the film was posted by Wes Ball on his YouTube channel, and it showcased what could have been.

While obviously incomplete and lacking any audio, the demo reel captures the feeling of the books excellently. Notable scenes from the demo reel include a showcase of the Mouse Guard society; multiple clashes between mice that feature cool, flashy choreography; and giant creatures such as turtles, crows, and snakes that almost function as dragons to the minuscule mice.

The screenwriter also lamented the project’s death and said so in a Tweet, in which he attached the ENTIRE SCREENPLAY online for anyone to read:



This is an incredible level of insight for a project that’s been canned. We can tell everyone attached to this was extremely passionate about Mouse Guard, and hopefully, someday, it can begin life again as a film adaptation. In the meantime, check out the demo reel below and see what could have been.



Featured Image Via IGN


Dev Patel in Talks to Star in ‘Green Knight’ Adaptation

Dev Patel, star of such films as Slumdog Millionaire and Lion, is reportedly in talks to star in A24’s adaptation of the famous 14th century Arthurian story Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The tale tells of Sir Gawain, a Knight of the Round Table, accepting a challenge from the mysterious Green Knight. The Knight tells Gawain he will allow him to strike him with an axe if Gawain accepts a similar blow in turn. Gawain beheads the Green Knight but the Knight picks up his head and ominously promises to return in a year and a day to strike a similar blow as promised. Filled with romance, action, and classical chivalrous themes, the story sounds perfect for a big screen adaptation.


An image of the Green Knight preparing for battle, hailing from the Boy's King Arthur by Sidney Lanier
Image Via The British Library


It is unknown what role Dev Patel will play but considering his previous screen credits any role should be exciting to see the Oscar-nominated actor embody. Also attached to the project is David Lowery, helmer of A Ghost Story, as well as producers Tim Headington and Theresa Steele of Ley Line Entertainment.

We look forward to seeing this classical tale brought to life and will keep our eyes peeled for further news, especially about what role Dev Patel will be eventually set to play.


Featured Image Via Variety