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THE MARVELOUS BETWEEN DANTE AND BOCCACCIO

  • JAMES C. KRIESEL (a1)

Abstract

In the late Middle Ages, authors of fiction, historical texts, and travel narratives discussed issues related to the places and spaces of marvels. Writers debated whether local, western occurrences could be as wondrous — and thus worthy of being recorded in writing — as foreign, eastern phenomena. This article explores how Boccaccio's engagement with Dante was intertwined with evolving views of the marvelous. It proposes that Boccaccio, following Dante, likened his writings to natural marvels to defend the status of literature, a mode of discourse sometimes considered unnatural or fraudulent. In addition, this research examines how Boccaccio drew on marvels to highlight differences between the properties and ethics of Dante's Comedy and these aspects of his Decameron. In addressing these topics, Boccaccio was inspired by late medieval Latin historians, who foregrounded the novelty of their texts by self-consciously writing about western marvels. In the Decameron, Boccaccio recalled ideas about local marvels to champion the dignity of his erotic, mundane stories in comparison to Dante's otherworldly, divine poem. Boccaccio thus also reminded readers not only to wonder about future, eternal matters, but to cherish the experiences of this our present life.

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Footnotes

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Research conducted by my wife, Caroline Wilky, informed several notions about the marvelous described in this article. This essay is thus appreciatively and lovingly dedicated to her. Her doctoral thesis, “Chronicling Creation: Nature and History Writing, c. 1150–1240” (PhD diss., University of Notre Dame, 2015), traces how evolving views about nature in the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries influenced late medieval historiography. She discusses how Gerald of Wales, Gervase of Tilbury, and Jacques de Vitry in the early thirteenth century created new genres of history writing by describing European rather than eastern wonders. I am also grateful to my friends and colleagues Zyg Barański and David Lummus, who commented on an earlier draft of this essay. Finally, I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers who gave suggestions for revising this study and express my gratitude to the editorial board of Traditio for publishing it.

Footnotes

References

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1 Lewis, Charlton T. and Short, Charles, A Latin Dictionary: Founded on Andrews’ Edition of Freund's Latin Dictionary (Oxford, 1996), 40, s.v. admiror. The following are particularly useful overviews of the most important writers, texts, and ideas related to marvels and wonder in medieval culture: Daston, Lorraine and Park, Katharine, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 1150–1750 (New York, 1998); Bynum, Caroline Walker, “Wonder,” American Historical Review 102 (1997): 126; Bynum, , “Miracles and Marvels: The Limits of Alterity,” in Vita Religiosa im Mittelatler: Festschrift für Kaspar Elm zum 70. Geburtstag, ed. Felten, Franz J. and Jaspert, Nikolas (Berlin, 1999), 799817; Bartlett, Robert, The Natural and Supernatural in the Middle Ages (Cambridge, 2008); and Karnes, Michelle, “Marvels in the Medieval Imagination,” Speculum 90 (2015): 327–65.

2 See Karnes, Michelle, “Wonder, Marvels, and Metaphor in the Squire's Tale,” English Literary History 82 (2015): 461–90, at 461–63; Karnes, “Marvels,” 327–28; and Daston and Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 21–25.

3 See nn. 2 and 4.

4 For these distinctions, see Bynum, “Wonder,” 3–4, 6–10, 13–14, 21–22, and 24; and Bynum, “Miracles and Marvels,” 802–7. As will become evident, it was precisely this broad, fluid, and at times ambiguous understanding of “naturally” marvelous phenomena that was exploited by medieval authors. Writers did occasionally, but not always, make a further distinction between the marvels of nature (naturalia) and human-initiated marvels (voluntaria or artificalia). Both categories comprised natural phenomena in two crucial senses: a) the occurrences of each subcategory did not break the laws of nature; and b) they were not of supernatural origin. Moreover, though miracles also engendered wonder, marvelous occurrences (mirabilia) were clearly distinguished from supernatural miracles (miracula) in the late Middle Ages. The fact that the medieval concept of the marvelous can seem tautological or all-encompassing to modern readers is partially the result of the fact that the notion was not merely an ontological category. What might strike one as marvelous largely depended on the perspective of each individual person. See again the remarks by Bynum, and the discussion of this issue in section 2 below.

5 On the role of marvels in accounts of the birth of poetry, see Lummus, David, “Boccaccio's Poetic Anthropology: Allegories of History in the Genealogie deorum gentilium libri,” Speculum 87 (2012): 724–65, at 732–34 and 738–41; and Ronconi, Giorgio, Le origini delle dispute umanistiche sulla poesia (Rome, 1976), 2122, 30–33, 35–36, and 42–43. These views about the first poets are largely inspired by Aristotelian concepts. See Karnes, “Wonder, Marvels,” 462–63.

6 For issues related to perceptions of the vernacular in Dante's and Boccaccio's Italy, see Cornish, Alison, Vernacular Translation in Dante's Italy: Illiterate Literature (Cambridge, 2010), 45 and 10–11, as well as 16–43; and Gittes, Tobias Foster, Boccaccio's Naked Muse: Eros, Culture, and the Mythopoetic Imagination (Toronto, 2008), 157–80. Writers often debated whether the vernacular was, like Latin, a suitable medium for communicating serious intellectual content and sacred metaphysical concepts.

7 For an introduction to the content, textual history, and cultural import of the work, see Gaunt, Simon, Marco Polo's Le Devisement du Monde: Narrative Voice, Language and Diversity (Cambridge, 2013), 135; and Akbari, Suzanne Conklin, Iannucci, Amilcare A., and Tulk, John, eds., Marco Polo and the Encounter of East and West (Toronto, 2008).

8 On the dates of the various versions of the text, see Gaunt, Marco Polo's Le Devisement, 5 and 11–28.

9 On the didactic and recreational dimensions of early vernacular culture, see Marazzini, Claudio, La lingua italiana: Profilo storico (Bologna, 1994), 182–89; Migliorini, Bruno, Storia della lingua italiana (Milan, 1987, repr. 2001), 141–45, 167–76, and 181–90; Usher, Jonathan, “Boccaccio on Readers and Reading,” Heliotropia 1 (2003): 6385, at 64–69; Cornish, Vernacular Translation, 36–43; and Gittes, Boccaccio's Naked Muse, 162–66 and 175–80.

10 Polo, Marco, Il Milione Pr., in Il libro di Marco Polo detto Milione nella versione trecentesca dell’ ottimo, ed. Ponchiroli, Daniele (Turin, 1974), 3. Translations are my own unless otherwise noted. The translations cited have occasionally been modified to draw out the meaning of the original more accurately.

11 For medieval perceptions of literature as a fraudulent mode of discourse in comparison to God's historical signifying, see Hollander, Robert, “Dante ‘Theologus-Poeta,’Dante Studies 94 (1976): 91136, at 95–99; Minnis, Alastair J., Scott, A. Brian, and Wallace, David, eds., Medieval Literary Theory and Criticism, c. 1100–c. 1375: The Commentary Tradition (Oxford, 1988), 113–26; and Moevs, Christian, The Metaphysics of the Comedy (Oxford, 2005), 176–80.

12 Dante, Inferno 16.131–32. I rely throughout on the text printed in La Commedia secondo l'antica vulgata, ed. Giorgio Petrocchi, 4 vols., 2nd ed. (Florence, 1994), here at 2:275. For the metapoetic relevance of the marvelous Geryon, see Barański, Zygmunt G., “The Marvellous and the Comic: Toward a Reading of Inferno XVI,” Lectura Dantis 7 (1990): 7295, at 75–86; Barolini, Teodolinda, The Undivine “Comedy”: Detheologizing Dante (Princeton, 1992), 5864; and Cachey, Theodore Jr., “Dante's Journey between Fiction and Truth: Geryon Revisited,” in Dante: Da Firenze all'aldilà; Atti del terzo Seminario dantesco internazionale, Firenze 9–11 giugno, 2000, ed. Picone, Michelangelo (Florence, 2001), 7592.

13 For epistemological issues related to marvels and for ideas about how they might impact those who encounter them, see Bynum, “Wonder” (n. 1 above), 15–17; Bynum, “Miracles and Marvels” (n. 1 above), 802–3, 808, and 811–15; Daston and Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature (n. 1 above), 25–39; and Karnes, “Medieval Imagination” (n. 1 above), 327–31.

14 Boccaccio, Comedia delle ninfe fiorentine 3.9–11, 12.2–16, 15.5–8, and 42.5. Throughout this article, for Boccacio's texts other than the Decameron I rely on the editions in Vittore Branca, ed., Tutte le opere di Giovanni Boccaccio, 10 vols. (Milan, 1964–98), here at 2:685, 706–8, 716–17, and 824. Compare Dante, Paradiso 33.131 (La Commedia, 4:556). For the chronology of Boccaccio's writings, see Tanturli, Giuliano and Zamponi, Stefano, “Biografia e cronologia delle opere,” in Boccaccio autore e copista: Firenze, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, 11 ottobre 2013–11 gennaio 2014, ed. De Robertis, Teresa et al. (Florence, 2013), 6164; and Chronology,” in Cambridge Companion to Boccaccio, ed. Armstrong, Guyda, Daniels, Rhiannon, and Milner, Stephen J. (Cambridge, 2015), xxixxxxv.

15 See the entries related to maraviglia under “Maladetta-Messegli,” in The Online Concordance to the Decameron, ed. Michael Papio, Decameron Web, accessed 4 May 2017, www.brown.edu/Departments/Italian_Studies/dweb/texts/concordance/maladetta-messegli.pdf, 35–42.

16 Boccaccio, Decameron 1 Intr., 2–7. Throughout, I use the text printed in Decameron, ed. Vittore Branca, 2 vols. (Turin, 1980, repr. 1992), here at 13–14. The issue of the Decameron’s comedic thematics is addressed in section 2.

17 Boccaccio, Genealogie deorum gentilium 1 Pr. 1, 45; 14.10.3; 14.7.2; and 14.8.4–7 (Tutte le opere, 7:60, 8:1420–21, 8:1398–1401, and 8:1404–9, respectively). Like his peers, Boccaccio defended the fictions of ancient poets by arguing they were not fraudulent. He too explained that the poets marveled at nature and then depicted ideas about the natural world to make readers wonder. On Boccaccio's ideas about marvels and ancient literature, see Lummus, “Boccaccio's Poetic Anthropology,” 732–34 and 738–41.

18 Boccaccio, Esposizioni sopra la Comedia di Dante 15.92–100 and 82–93 (ed. Giorgio Padoan, Tutte le opere, 6:684–86 and 704–7, respectively). The passages will be discussed in sections 2 and 3 below.

19 See n. 15.

20 The search for maraviglia in the poem was conducted through the Dartmouth Dante Project (accessed 4 May 2017, dante.dartmouth.edu). For an introduction to marvels and wonder in the Comedy, see the bibliography of n. 12 as well as Boyde, Patrick, Dante Philomythes and Philosopher (Cambridge, 1981), 4356; Biow, Douglas, Mirabile dictu: Representations of the Marvelous in Medieval and Renaissance Epic (Ann Arbor, 1996), 3764; Armour, Peter, “I ‘monstra’ e ‘mirabilia’ del mondo ai tempi di Dante,” in I monstra nell'Inferno dantesco: Tradizione e simbologie; Atti del XXXIII convegno storico internazionale Todi, 13–16 ottobre 1996, ed. Boyde, Patrick (Spoleto, 1997), 141–59; Schildgen, Brenda Deen, Dante and the Orient (Urbana, 2002), 110–34; Atturo, Valentina, “‘Così la mente mia, tutta sospesa, / mirava fissa, immobile e attenta’: Genesi e articolazioni della ‘ad-miratio’ dantesca (Pd. 33, 94–99),” Critica del testo 13 (2010): 59107; and Atturo, , “Contemplating Wonder: ‘Ad-miratio’ in Richard of St. Victor and Dante,” Dante Studies 129 (2011): 99124. In the Paradiso, Dante-poet drew on marvels to highlight the properties of the “sacred poem” (poema sacro) (Par. 25.1) (La Commedia 4:409). Dante-pilgrim generally goes from marveling at the perversions of humanity and divinity in hell and purgatory (which are often associated with pagan culture) to contemplating the ineffable wonders of paradise. In the Comedy, wonder typically has an epistemological role: the marvels observed by the pilgrim prompt him to inquire into unfamiliar realities or subjects (see the studies of Boyde, Biow, and Schildgen just cited). Monsters, one category of marvels in medieval culture, have received significant scholarly attention. See, for example, Andy Orchard, “The Sources and Meaning of the Liber monstrorum,” in I monstra, 73–105; Livanos, Christopher, “Dante's Monsters: Nature and Evil in the Commedia,” Dante Studies 127 (2009): 8192; Ragni, Eugenio, “Mostri e diavoli nell’Inferno dantesco,” in Inferno: Le tre fiere, Virgilio, Mostri e diavoli, Guido Cavalcanti, Brunetto Latini, Frate Alberigo e Branca Doria, ed. Rati, Giancarlo (Rome, 2010), 67111; Izzi, Giuseppe, “Variarum monstra ferarum: Dal Minotauro ai Centauri,” in Dante e il mondo animale, ed. Crimi, Giuseppi and Marcozzi, Luca (Rome, 2013), 7991; and Dameron, George, “Angels, Monsters, and Hybridity in the Divine Comedy: Ancient Greek Cultural Legacies and Dante's Critique of the Church,” in Dante and the Greeks, ed. Ziolkowski, Jan M. (Washington, DC, 2014), 247–64.

21 On topics related to marvels in Boccaccio's works, see Cottino-Jones, Marga, “Magic and Superstition in Boccaccio's Decameron,” Italian Quarterly 18 (1975): 532; Baratto, Mario, Realtà e stile nel Decameron (Rome, 1984), at 36, 42, 44, 56, 94, and 109; Cottino-Jones, Marga, “Desire and the Fantastic in the Decameron: The Third Day,” Italica 70 (1993): 118; Biow, Mirabile dictu, 65–93; Picone, Michelangelo, “Il ‘miracolo’ di Ghino (X.2),” in Boccaccio e la codificazione della novella: Letture del Decameron, ed. Coderey, Nicole et al. (Ravenna, 2008), 311–20; Ciabattoni, Francesco, “Boccaccio's Miraculous Art of Storytelling: Dec. I.1, II.1 and VI.10,” Italica 87 (2010): 167–78; and Menetti, Elisabetti, “Boccaccio e la fantasia,” Revista de Italianística 29 (2015): 86108, at 101–4. Scholars have suggested in general terms that the Decameron features a combination of historical and marvelous (understood as fantastic) material. The relationship of marvels to miracles and magic will be addressed in sections 2 and 3 below.

22 For a detailed account of scholarship on Boccaccio's writings and on his relationship to Dante, see Kriesel, , “Introduction,” in Boccaccio's Corpus: Allegory, Ethics, and Vernacularity (Notre Dame, IN, 2018). This note and nn. 23–24 synthesize critical issues addressed in Boccaccio's Corpus. For a discussion of the protodeconstructionist dimensions of Boccaccio's vernacular writings, see Martinez, Ronald L., “Also Known as ‘Principe Galetto’ (Decameron),” in Boccaccio: A Critical Guide to the Complete Works, ed. Kirkham, Victoria, Sherberg, Michael, and Smarr, Janet L. (Chicago, 2014), 2339, at 24–25 and 36–39; and Stephen J. Milner, “Boccaccio's Decameron and the Semiotics of the Everyday,” in Companion to Boccaccio, 83–100, at 86–93 and 97–98. For influential examples of this scholarship, see Mazzotta, Giuseppe, The World at Play in Boccaccio's Decameron (Princeton, 1986); and Marcus, Millicent, An Allegory of Form: Literary Self-Consciousness in the Decameron (Saratoga, 1979).

23 For the view that Boccaccio is a protorealist writer, an interpretation of Boccaccio's authorial identity that is largely indebted to Erich Auerbach and Vittore Branca, see Auerbach, Erich, “Frate Alberto,” in Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, trans. Trask, Willard R. (Princeton, 1953, repr. 2013), 203–31; Ascoli, Albert R., “Auerbach fra gli epicurei: Dal canto X dell’Inferno alla VI giornata del Decameron,” Moderna 9 (2009): 135–52, at 135–39; Cervigni, Dino S., “Introductory Note,” in Boccaccio's Decameron: Rewriting the Christian Middle Ages, ed. Cervigni, Dino S. (Chapel Hill, NC, 2013), 1516; Leavitt, Charles L. IV, “‘Il realismo di un nuovissimo medio evo’: Boccaccio in the Age of Neorealism,” Le tre corone 3 (2016): 135–55; and Steinberg, Justin, “Mimesis on Trial: Legal and Literary Verisimilitude in the Decameron,” Representations 139 (2017): 118–45.

24 For summative accounts of recent scholarly trends in Boccaccio studies, see Victoria Kirkham, Michael Sherberg, and Janet L. Smarr, eds., Boccaccio: A Critical Guide; and Companion to Boccaccio (n. 14 above). For discussions of and bibliography on Boccaccio's diverse engagements with Dante, see Hollander, Robert, Boccaccio's Dante and the Shaping Force of Satire (Ann Arbor, 1997), 919; Marchesi, Simone, Stratigrafie decameroniane (Florence, 2004), 3166; Houston, Jason M., Building a Monument to Dante: Boccaccio as Dantista (Toronto, 2010), 311; Eisner, Martin, Boccaccio and the Invention of Italian Literature: Dante, Petrarch, Cavalcanti, and the Authority of the Vernacular (Cambridge, 2013), 128; Olson, Kristina, Courtesy Lost: Dante, Boccaccio, and the Literature of History (Toronto, 2014), 2425; Ciabattoni, Francesco and Forni, Pier Massimo, “Introduction,” in The Decameron Third Day in Perspective, ed. Ciabattoni, Francesco and Forni, Pier Massimo (Toronto, 2014), 38; Migiel, Marilyn, The Ethical Dimension of the Decameron (Toronto, 2015), 317; Azzetta, Luca and Mazzucchi, Andrea, eds., Boccaccio editore e interprete di Dante: Atti del Convegno internazionale di Roma, 28–30 ottobre 2013, in collaborazione con la Casa di Dante in Roma (Rome, 2014); and Guyda Armstrong, “Boccaccio and Dante,” in Companion to Boccaccio, 121–38. A full account of Boccaccio's diverse engagements with Dante is impossible in this context. However, the present research is indebted to and complements two areas of scholarship. This article complements scholarship on how Boccaccio promoted Dante and vernacular literature by compiling anthologies of and commenting on Dante's writings (for example, the works of Houston, Eisner, and Armstrong). It also complements research on how Boccaccio characterized the pedagogical and ethical dimensions of his texts versus these aspects of Dante's works (for example, the studies of Hollander, Marchesi, and Migiel). Scholars have explored how Boccaccio, in comparison to Dante, dramatized in more sustained terms matters related to the complexities inherent in the (subjective) interpretation of meaning (for example, Hollander, Boccaccio's Dante, 69–88; Migiel, Ethical Dimension, 11–14 and generally 3–17). They have also examined how he taught issues about personal conduct by more sustained reference to humanity's experience of earthly, temporal reality (for example, see Marchesi, Stratigrafie decameroniane, 18 and 40–58). For a summary of other analyses of ethical concepts in the Decameron, see Migiel, Ethical Dimension, 7–12.

25 Boccaccio, Decameron 1.1.2 and 85 (ed. Branca, 49–50 and 68).

26 See, for example, Dante, Inferno 15.24 (La Commedia, 2:244).

27 Boccaccio, Decameron 3.8.3 (ed. Branca, 414–15).

28 For example, compare Boccaccio, Decameron 6 Conc., 27, (ed. Branca, 780); and Dante, Purgatorio 28.29 (La Commedia, 3:480).

29 Petrarch was particularly critical of the Decameron. On Petrarch's criticisms of Boccaccio's erotic vernacular text and on Boccaccio's response to Petrarch, see Kriesel, chap. 5: “The Hatred of the Corpus: Corbaccio,” in Boccaccio's Corpus.

30 This in no way implies that Boccaccio thought Dante did not value the dignity of earthly reality, temporal existence, and local wonders.

31 Dante, Paradiso 22.135 (La Commedia, 4:389).

32 See Caroline Wilky, “Chronicling Creation: Nature and History Writing, c. 1150–1240” (PhD diss., University of Notre Dame, 2015); and Legassie, Shayne Aaron, The Medieval Invention of Travel (Chicago, 2017). Legassie observes that writers did not frequently discuss local places and marvels prior to the mid-fourteenth century. He notes that the thirteenth-century historian Gerald of Wales, who writes about the marvels of his homeland, is exceptional (Legassie, Medieval Invention, 165). He also states that Petrarch, who discusses traveling around the Mediterranean and at Rome in his Latin texts, is part of an emerging trend dedicated to describing Mediterranean places (Legassie, Medieval Invention, at, for example, ix and 152–67). The work of Wilky, discussed above and cited below, instead documents that accounts of Mediterranean and local marvels were present in historical texts composed in the first decades of the thirteenth century. Moreover, medieval historians discussed whether the events of the present were as worthy of wonder as those of the past. For examples of such reflection in late medieval histories, see also Lake, Justin, ed., Prologues to Ancient and Medieval History: A Reader (Toronto, 2013), 207, 212–14, and 248–51. My article contributes to this scholarly topic by exploring how these thirteenth-century historians inspired a vernacular Tuscan author to write about quotidian and domestic phenomena (versus Mediterranean or even faraway peninsular wonders, for example, at Rome or Naples).

33 For a general introduction to hexameral literature, see Robbins, Frank E., The Hexaemeral Literature: A Study of the Greek and Latin Commentaries on Genesis (Chicago, 1912); Williams, Arnold, The Common Expositor: An Account of the Commentaries on Genesis, 1527–1633 (Chapel Hill, NC, 1948); and Gunar Freiburgs, “The Medieval Latin Hexameron from Bede to Grosseteste” (PhD diss., University of Southern California, 1981). On the resonances of the title Decameron, see Marco Veglia, “Messer Decameron Galeotto: Un titolo e una chiave di lettura,” Heliotropia 8–9 (2011–12): 99–112, accessed 4 May 2017, www.brown.edu/Departments/Italian_Studies/heliotropia/08-09/veglia.pdf; and Martinez, “Also Known” (n. 22 above), 36–37.

34 Biblia sacra iuxta vulgatam versionem, ed. Weber, Robert et al. , 4th ed. (Stuttgart, 1994), Exod. 34:10–27; and Pss. 9, 47, 71, 85, 105, and 118; and Augustine, De civitate dei 21.9.49–53, ed. Bernardus Dombart and Alphonsus Kalb, 2 vols., CCL 48–49 (Turnhout, 1955), 2:775.

35 Words related to mirabilia appear on fifty occasions: search conducted through the Library of Latin Texts, accessed 5 May 2017, clt.brepolis.net. See Ambrose of Milan, Exameron, in Opera, ed. Carolus Schenkl, CSEL 32.1 (Vienna, 1897). Ambrose drew heavily upon Basil of Caesarea's (c. 329–379) Greek Hexaemeron, which also foregrounds ideas about wondering at the marvels of creation. On wonder in Basil's text, see Robbins, Hexaemeral Literature, 43 and 58–59; Lim, Richard, “The Politics of Interpretation in Basil of Caesarea's Hexaemeron,” Vigiliae Christianae 44 (1990): 351–70, at 362–63; and McClain, Daniel Wade, “Contemplating Genesis 1 as a Political Act in Late Antiquity,” in Reading Scripture as a Political Act: Essays on the Theopolitical Interpretation of the Bible, ed. Tapie, Matthew A. and McClain, Daniel Wade (Minneapolis, 2015), 101–26, at 115–20.

36 Words related to mirabilia appear on 27 occasions in Bede's work and on 51 occasions in Bonaventure's text: search conducted through the Library of Latin Texts, accessed on April 25, 2017, clt.brepolis.net. See Bede, Venerable, Libri quattuor in principium Genesis usque ad nativitatem Isaac et eiectionem Ismahelis adnotationum (sive Hexaemeron), ed. Jones, Charles W., CCL 118A (Turnhout, 1967); and Bonaventure, Collationes in Hexaemeron, ed. Ferdinand M. Delorme, Bibliotheca Franciscana Scholastica Medii Aevi 8 (Florence, 1934).

37 Hugh of St. Victor, Adnotationes elucidatoriae in Pentateuchon (PL 175:33). In Latin citations, u/v and s/ſ have been regularized.

38 Boccaccio, Genealogie 11.18.4 (Tutte le opere, 8:1113); compare Ambrose, Exameron 5.13.40 (CSEL 32.1:172–73).

39 For example, see Augustine, De civitate dei 21.6.53–58 (CCL 49:767–68). In his work on the marvels of creation, De tribus diebus, Hugh also considered human writing to be a wondrous imitation of God's marvelous creation. See Hugh of St. Victor, De tribus diebus 4.94–109 and 15.506–28, ed. Dominique Poirel, CCM 177 (Turnhout, 2002), 9–10 and 32–33.

40 For an introduction to the significance of marvels in these historical writings, see Bynum, “Miracles and Marvels” (n. 1 above), 801–7; Daston and Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature (n. 1 above), 21–27; and Wilky, “Chronicling Creation,” 120–23 and 242–49.

41 See Lozovsky, Natalia, The Earth Is Our Book: Geographical Knowledge in the Medieval West ca. 400–1000 (Ann Arbor, MI, 2000), 6894; and Merrills, A. H., History and Geography in Late Antiquity (Cambridge, 2005), 2034.

42 See n. 40.

43 Gervase's Otia and other texts about marvels like Gaius Julius Solinus's (fl. early third century) De mirabilibus mundi circulated at Naples where Boccaccio lived until 1341. See D'Ovidio, Stefano, “Boccaccio, Virgilio e la Madonna di Piedigrotta,” in Boccaccio angioino: Materiali per la storia culturale di Napoli nel Trecento, ed. Alfano, Giancarlo, D'Urso, Teresa, and Saggese, Alessandra Perriccioli (Brussels, 2013), 329–46, at 334–41; and Carla Maria Monti, “Scheda 76,” in Boccaccio autore (n. 14 above), 374–76. Boccaccio also copied the apocryphal letter of Alexander to Aristotle De miraculis Indiae (third century bce) in his notebooks. See Marco Petoletti, “Gli zibaldoni di Boccaccio” in Boccaccio autore, 291–99, at 293; and Petoletti, “Tavola di ZL + ML secondo l'ordinamento originale,” in Boccaccio autore (4. ZL, fols. 41r–45r). For the impact of Gerald and Gervase on Boccaccio's scholarship, see Vittorio Zaccaria, ed., Genealogie (Tutte le opere, 8:1790) (index of passages indebted to their writings); and Manlio Pastore Stocchi, ed., De montibus (Tutte le opere, 8:2039–122) (notes frequently highlight Boccaccio's debts to these works).

44 Augustine, De civitate dei 21.4.67–71 (CCL 49:763). Compare 21.2, 21.4.105–110, 21.5.37–41, and 21.8.80–83 (CCL 49:759, 764, 765, and 772, respectively).

45 For this notion and a fuller discussion of Augustine's views of marvels and wonder, see Bynum, “Miracles and Marvels,” 802–3; and Daston and Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 23, 39–41, and 62.

46 See Bynum, “Wonder,” 7–8 and 14; Bynum, “Miracles and Marvels,” 802–5 and 811–14; Daston and Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 23–27, 39–48, and 62–64; and Wilky, “Chronicling Creation” (n. 32 above), 121–27.

47 Gerald of Wales, Topographia Hibernica Pr. Sec., in Opera, ed. James F. Dimock, 8 vols., Rolls Series 21 (London, 1861–91), 5:20–21; translation adapted from Daston and Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 25–26. Compare Gervase of Tilbury, Otia imperialia: Recreation for an Emperor 3 Pr., ed. Banks, Sheila E. and Binns, Jonathan W. (Oxford, 2002), 562–63.

48 On these specific differences between earlier and later medieval history writing, see Daston and Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 25–39; and Wilky, “Chronicling Creation,” 178–91. For a general introduction to monsters in (earlier) medieval literature, see Orchard, Andy, Pride and Prodigies: Studies in the Monsters of the Beowulf-Manuscript (Cambridge, 1995); Friedman, John B., The Monstrous Races in Medieval Art and Thought (Syracuse, 2000); and Oswald, Dana M., ed., Monsters, Gender, and Sexuality in Medieval English Literature (Woodbridge, 2010).

49 See n. 46; and Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae sive origines 11.3, ed. Wallace M. Lindsay, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1911, repr. 1989), 2:n.p.

50 Gervase, Otia 3 Pr., 558–59. Compare Gerald, Topographia Intr., in Opera, 5:6–7.

51 For a summary of the metaphysical and artistic resonances of novelty in medieval culture, see Ingham, Patricia Claire, The Medieval New: Ambivalence in an Age of Innovation (Philadelphia, 2015), 35, 7–12, and 28–36. In reflecting on novelty, medieval Christian writers were generally indebted to biblical passages that characterized God as the creator of the new (Isa. 43:18–19, and 2 Cor. 5:17).

52 Boccaccio, Decameron Pr. 3–5 and 8 (ed. Branca, 5–7).

53 Boccaccio, Decameron Pr. 11 (ed. Branca, 8).

54 Boccacio, Decameron Pr. 13 (ed. Branca, 8–9).

55 On the resonances of novella, see Sarteschi, Selene, “Valenze lessicali di ‘novella,’ ‘favola,’ e ‘istoria’ nella tradizione volgare fino a Boccaccio,” in Favole, parabole, istorie: Le forme della scrittura novellistica dal medioevo al rinascimento; Atti del convegno di Pisa, 26–28 ottobre 1998, ed. Albanese, Gabriella, Ricci, Lucia Battaglia, and Bessi, Rossella (Rome, 2000), 85108, at 85–97.

56 Gervase, Otia Pr. (n. 47 above), 12; and compare Gerald, Topographia Intr., in Opera (n. 47 above), 5:6–7.

57 Gervase, Otia 3 Pr., 558.

58 Boccaccio, Decameron Pr. 14 (ed. Branca, 9).

59 Boccaccio, Decameron 1 Intr. 8 (ed. Branca, 15–16).

60 Boccaccio, Decameron 1 Intr. 14 and 16 (ed. Branca, 17–18).

61 Boccaccio, Decameron 1 Intr. 18–42 (ed. Branca, 18–26).

62 Boccaccio, Decameron 1 Intr. 55 (ed. Branca, 32–33).

63 Boccaccio, Decameron 1 Intr. 89–90 and 111–12 (ed. Branca, 40–41 and 47, respectively).

64 Boccaccio, Decameron 3 Intr. 5, 9, and 11 (ed. Branca, 324–26).

65 Gen. 1:11–13.

66 For this citation and reference, see n. 16. That these passages and phrases in the Decameron encourage readers to think of Dante's Comedy is a critical commonplace. For example, see Hollander, Boccaccio's Dante (n. 24 above), 23–26.

67 Boccaccio, Decameron 1 Intr. 4 (ed. Branca, 13).

68 Dante, Inferno 1.5 and 77 (La Commedia, 2:4 and 13).

69 For a general introduction to Inferno 19, see Sherberg, Michael, “Coin of the Realm: Dante and the Simonists,” Dante Studies 129 (2011): 723; and Pertile, Lino, “Inferno XIX,” in Lectura Dantis Bononiensis 3, ed. Pasquini, Emilio and Galli, Carlo (Bologna, 2014), 111–33.

70 Dante, Inferno 19.28–30 (La Commedia, 2:316–17).

71 Boccaccio, Decameron 1 Intr. 14 (ed. Branca, 17).

72 Boccaccio, Esposizioni 16.87–88 (Tutte le opere, 6:705–6); and compare Dante, Inferno 16.130–32 (La Commedia, 2:275); 17.1–27 (La Commedia, 2:277–80); and 17.81–90 (La Commedia, 2:286–87).

73 Boccaccio, Decameron 1.1.2 (emphasis added) (ed. Branca, 49–50). Given these remarks and given the analysis that follows, it seems Boccaccio carefully underscored that his art was akin to a marvel and not to a miracle. As noted, the miraculous was considered exclusively the purview of God (see Ciabattoni, “Boccaccio's Miraculous Art” [n. 21 above] for a contrary view). Compare Boccaccio, Decameron, 1.1.83; and see below.

74 Boccaccio, Decameron 1.1.2–3 (ed. Branca, 49–50).

75 Scholars have often suggested that Boccaccio recalls Dante's teacher in a story about saintly, linguistic, and symbolic intermediaries to question Dante's truth claims, namely, that he has certain knowledge of the world and afterlife. This skepticism, in turn, supposedly implies that for Boccaccio the world is composed of unstable, manipulable, and confusing signs. For the potential echoes of Brunetto in the story and/or the “deconstructive” implications of the tale, see Mazzotta, World at Play (n. 22 above), 59–63; Marcus, Allegory of Form (n. 22 above), 11–26; Hollander, Boccaccio's Dante (n. 22 above), 21–39; Usher, Jonathan, “A ‘Ser Cepparello’ Constructed from Dante Fragments (Decameron I, 1),” Italianist 23 (2003): 181–93; and Cherchi, Paolo and Sarteschi, Selene, “L’innocentia di Ser Ciappelletto,” Studi sul Boccaccio 38 (2010): 5768.

76 Dante, Inferno 15.24 (La Commedia, 2:244). For an introduction to Inferno 15, in particular as it relates to fama, sodomy, and (vernacular) poetics (issues that also appear in Boccaccio's story), see Cornish, Vernacular Translation (n. 6 above), 133–45; and Steinberg, Justin, Dante and the Limits of the Law (Chicago, 2013), 3640.

77 Boccaccio, Esposizioni 15.17–18 (Tutte le opere, 6:668–69).

78 Boccaccio, Decameron 1.1.9–14 (ed. Branca, 52–54).

79 Dante, Inferno 15.31 and 37 (La Commedia, 2:245–46); Boccaccio, Decameron 1.1.33, 42, 50, 52, etc. (ed. Branca, 58–62).

80 On the metaliterary and erotic resonances in this episode, see Cornish, Vernacular Translation, 127, 133–35, and 137–39; and Steinberg, Dante and the Limits, 38–39.

81 Dante, Inferno 15.85 and 120 (La Commedia, 2:252 and 256, respectively).

82 Boccaccio, Esposizioni 15.63 and 94 (Tutte le opere, 6:678 and 684, respectively).

83 Boccaccio, Decameron 1.1.88 (ed. Branca, 69).

84 Boccaccio, Decameron 1.1.24–25 (ed. Branca, 56).

85 Boccaccio, Decameron 1.1.33 (ed. Branca, 59).

86 Boccaccio, Decameron 1.1.75 (ed. Branca, 66).

87 Boccaccio, Decameron 1.1.85 (ed. Branca, 68).

88 Tesoro della lingua italiana delle origini (TLIO), ed. Pär Larson and Paolo Squillacioti, s.v. pergamo (1, by Andrea Felici), accessed May 4, 2017, tlio.ovi.cnr.it/TLIO; Latin Dictionary (n. 1 above), 1342, s.v. Pergamum (2).

89 Boccaccio, Decameron 1.1.85 (ed. Branca, 68, emphasis added).

90 Boccaccio, Decameron 1.1.86 (ed. Branca, 69).

91 Latin Dictionary, 1865, s.v. texo (I.B and II.2.B).

92 Boccaccio, Decameron 1.1.78 (ed. Branca, 67).

93 Boccaccio, Decameron 1.2.2 (ed. Branca, 71).

94 Dante, Inferno 16.124 (La Commedia, 2:274); and Boccaccio, Decameron 3.8.3 (ed. Branca, 414). Recent readings of the tale have proposed that the story dramatizes difficulties related to distinguishing truth from fiction (in general, but especially in relation to Dante's characterization of the Comedy as a prophetic poem about the afterlife). See Marilyn Migiel, “Some Restrictions Apply: Testing the Reader in Decameron 3.8,” in Boccaccio in America: 2010 International Boccaccio Conference, UMass Amherst April 20–May 1, ed. Elsa Filosa and Michael Papio (Ravenna, 2012), 191–207, at 192–93 and 207; and Martin Eisner, “The Tale of Ferondo's Purgatory (III.8),” in Third Day (n. 24 above), 150–69, at 150–52 and 157–61. Other readers have explored the relationship between desire and fantasy in the story: see Cottino-Jones, “Desire and the Fantastic”; and Bramanti, Vanni, “Il ‘pugatorio’ di Ferondo (Dec. III.8),” Studi sul Boccaccio 7 (1973): 178–87, at 178–80.

95 Boccaccio, Decameron 3.8.3 (ed. Branca, 414–15).

96 Boccaccio, Esposizioni 16.82 and 83–84 (Tutte le opere, 6:704–5).

97 Dante, Paradiso 25.1 (La Commedia, 4:409).

98 Boccaccio, Trattatello in laude di Dante §179 (ed. Pier Giorgio Ricci, Tutte le opere, 3:482) (citations of the biography are from the first redaction).

99 In the Genealogie, Boccaccio explains that writers are influenced by divine inspiration but specifies that the process is “marvelous” (mirabilis), namely, wondrously natural and not miraculously supernatural (Genealogie 14.7.1 [Tutte le opere, 8:1400]). He specifies that a writer creates according “to his own nature” (natura ipsa) and according “to the power of his mind” (mentis viribus) (Genealogie 14.7.6 [Tutte le opere, 8:1403]). In other words, writers do not exceed their natural limitations in any way. See in general Boccaccio, Genealogie 14.7.1–7 (Tutte le opere, 8:1400–1407). This understanding of creative inspiration informed humanist ideas about the poeta-theologus, namely that there were ancient poets who were not liars, but rather were authors of truthful literature (e.g., Virgil). In his scholarship, Boccaccio promoted Dante by suggesting that the poet belonged in this classicizing canon of writers. Boccaccio's clarification that Dante is not an extra-natural author does not contradict, but is a crucial element of this rhetorical strategy. On Boccaccio's characterization of Dante as a poet-theologian, see Armstrong, “Boccaccio and Dante” (n. 24 above), 128–33; Lummus, “The Decameron and Boccaccio's Poetics,” in Companion to Boccaccio (n. 14 above), 65–82, at 65–67; Gur Zak, “Boccaccio and Petrarch,” in Companion to Boccaccio, 142–44; and Robert Hollander, “Boccaccio's Divided Allegiance (Esposizioni sopra la Comedia di Dante),” in Boccaccio: A Critical Guide (n. 22 above), 221–31, at 224–25 and 229–31. This scholarship also addresses how Boccaccio downplayed Dante's prophetic self-fashioning.

100 Boccaccio, Trattatello in laude di Dante §§29 and 172 (Tutte le opere, 3:444 and 480); and Boccaccio, Esposizioni Acc. 8–9, 18–22, and 33 (Tutte le opere, 6:2–3, 4–5, and 8).

101 To include Dante in a canon of similar writers, Boccaccio of course needed to qualify the poet's claims about being an exceptional scriba Dei, who had a unique — indeed, seemingly miraculous — experience of the afterlife. Boccaccio was also skeptical of Dante's prophetic self-fashioning, an issue that has been highlighted by other scholars (for example, see nn. 94 and 99), but not by reference to the subject of marvels. Topics related to vernacular and classical literary canons will be briefly touched upon in sections 4 and 5 below, but the focus of this and other sections is necessarily Boccaccio's ideas about marvels and the Comedy. Though the following pages address Boccaccio's canonization of Dante, see Houston, Building a Monument (n. 24 above); Eisner, Boccaccio and Invention (n. 24 above) (in general, but especially 5–8 and 50–73); and Armstrong, “Boccaccio and Dante,” 122–27 for a comprehensive discussion of the subject. These scholars also have references to bibliography on Boccaccio's canonizing and anthologizing of Dante. The importance of Boccaccio's autograph copies of Dante's works is discussed in section 5 below, and the relevant manuscripts are listed in n. 199.

102 See n. 99 for Boccaccio's views about creative inspiration and classical canonization. See also in general the remarks in nn. 99, 101, and 199.

103 Other medieval writers also acknowledged (or tried to explain away) the fact that the Comedy contained potentially ambiguous or mistaken ideas. For a discussion of these issues, see Robert Wilson, “‘Quandoque bonus dormitat Dantes’? The Treatment of Dante's Errors in the Trecento Commentaries,” Rassegna europea di letteratura italiana 29–30 (2007): 141–56; Wilson, “Allegory as Avoidance in Dante's Early Commentators: ‘Bella menzogna’ to ‘roza corteccia,’” in Interpreting Dante: Essays on the Traditions of Dante Commentary, ed. Paola Nasti and Claudia Rossignoli (Notre Dame, IN, 2013), 30–52; and Simon Gilson, “Modes of Reading in Boccaccio's Esposizioni sopra la Comedia,” in Interpreting Dante, 250–82, at 265–66.

104 Dante, Inferno 16.7–12 and 28–33 (La Commedia, 2:260 and 263). This paragraph draws on and synthesizes Barański, “Marvellous and the Comic” (n. 12 above), 79–81. On Inferno 16, see also Cestaro, Gary P., “Queering Nature, Queering Gender: Dante and Sodomy,” in Dante for the New Millennium, ed. Barolini, Teodolinda and Storey, H. Wayne (New York, 2003), 90103, at 96–101 (on geography and nature in the canto); and Anthony Oldcorn, “Inferno 16: Il secondo canto degli uomini sessuali,” in Lectura Dantis Bononiensis (n. 69 above), 41–58, at 43–45 (on geography and nature), and 47–49, 51 (on the bodies and appearances of the sodomites).

105 Dante, Inferno 16.7–9 and 30 (La Commedia, 2:260 and 263).

106 Dante, Inferno 16.94–105 (La Commedia, 2:270–72).

107 Dante, Inferno 16.115–17 (La Commedia, 2:273).

108 Dante, Inferno 17.16–18 (La Commedia, 2:279): “with more colors, intertwined and overlaid, / never did Tartars or Turks make cloths, / nor did Arachne arrange the loom for such weaves” (con più color, sommesse e sovraposte, / non fer mai drappi Tartari né Turchi, / né fuor tai tele per Aragne imposte).

109 Boccaccio, Decameron 3.8.4 (ed. Branca, 415).

110 Boccaccio, Decameron 3.8.4–5 (ed. Branca, 415). For a comprehensive analysis of Boccaccio's ideas about and depictions of diverse social classes in relation to Dante's views and representations, see Olson, Courtesy Lost. Olson does not discuss Decameron 3.8.

111 Boccaccio, Decameron 3.8.73 (ed. Branca, 427); Dante, Inferno 1.65–66 (La Commedia, 2:12).

112 Boccaccio, Trattatello in laude di Dante §29 (Tutte le opere, 3:444).

113 Boccaccio, Decameron 3.8.25 (ed. Branca, 418).

114 Boccaccio, Esposizioni 1.2.102 and generally 94–111 (Tutte le opere, 6:76 and 73–78, respectively).

115 Boccaccio, Esposizioni 1.1.33–35 (Tutte le opere, 6:25–26).

116 Dante, Purgatorio 30.117 (La Commedia, 3:527); and then 30.121–32 (La Commedia, 3:528–29) and 31.47–60 (La Commedia, 3:536–37).

117 Boccaccio, Decameron 3.8.32 and 33 (ed. Branca, 420–21); and Dante, Inferno 1.3 and 11 (La Commedia, 2:3 and 5).

118 Boccaccio, Decameron 3.8.74 (ed. Branca, 427). The fact that the analogue of Dante recounts “fables” is significant, and the issue is treated in the following two paragraphs.

119 Boccaccio, Decameron 3.8.5 (ed. Branca, 415) (Ferondo's burning passion); 3.8.7 (ed. Branca, 416) (he ignores his wife's spiritual needs); 3.8.8 (ed. Branca, 416) (his uncontrolled jealousy); and 3.8.55 (ed. Branca, 424) (fixation on food).

120 Boccaccio, Decameron 3.8.51 (ed. Branca, 423).

121 Dante, Inferno 18.35–36 (La Commedia, 2:27); Boccaccio, Decameron 3.8.46 (ed. Branca, 423).

122 On necromancy and illicit magic, see Isidore, Etymologiae 8.5.2–3 and 8.9 (n. 49 above); and see the succinct overview in Gilson, Simon, “Medieval Magical Lore and Dante's Commedia: Divination and Demonic Agency,” Dante Studies 119 (2001): 2766.

123 On the relevance of necromancy and divination in these cantos, especially as related to differences between Virgil's tragedy and Dante's comedy, see Hollander, Robert, Studies in Dante (Ravenna, 1980), 131218; Barolini, Undivine Comedy (n. 12 above), 76–83; and Barolini, , “Canto XX: True and False Seers,” in Lectura Dantis; Inferno: A Canto-by-Canto Commentary, ed. Mandelbaum, Allen, Oldcorn, Anthony, and Ross, Charles (Berkeley, 1998), 275–86.

124 Dante, Inferno 20.11–12 (La Commedia, 2:331).

125 Dante, Inferno 20.113 (La Commedia, 2:342).

126 Dante, Inferno 20.55–99 (La Commedia, 2:335–40); Virgil, Aeneid 10.198–202, in Opera, ed. Roger A. B. Mynors (Oxford, 1969), 339.

127 Dante, Inferno 20.97–99 (La Commedia, 2:340): “Therefore, I warn you, if you ever hear / my city has any other origin, / do not let any lie defraud the truth” (Però t'assenno che, se tu mai odi / originar la mia terra altrimenti, / la vertià nulla menzogna frodi).

128 Boccaccio, Decameron 3.8.31 (ed. Branca, 419).

129 For distinctions concerning natural medicine and licit magic versus infernal magic and necromancy, see Gilson, “Magical Lore,” 28–34; and Klaassen, Frank, The Transformation of Magic: Illicit Learned Magic in the Later Middle Ages and Renaissance (University Park, PA, 2013), 23, 13–15, and 17–32. On the necromantic uses of herbs and potions, see also Dante, Inferno 20.117 (La Commedia, 2:342) and 20.122–23 (La Commedia, 2:343).

130 On Dante's guild membership, see Santagata, Marco, Dante: The Story of His Life, trans. Dixon, Richard (Cambridge, MA, 2016), 95.

131 Boccaccio, Decameron 3.8.33 (ed. Branca, 420–21).

132 Boccaccio, Decameron 3.8.31 (ed. Branca, 419–20).

133 Polo, Milione 30–31 (n. 10 above), 31–34. For Boccaccio's knowledge of this story, see ed. Branca, 420 n. 1.

134 Boccaccio, Decameron 3.8.30–33 (ed. Branca, 419–21) and 3.8.64 and 3.8.73 (ed. Branca, 425 and 427, respectively).

135 Eisner also notes that Renaissance editors of the Decameron were aware of Boccaccio's suggestion that Dante was potentially engaging in necromantic activities (see “The Tale” [n. 94 above], 156–57). Whereas it was thought that only God could effect a resurrection, writers believed that magicians and demons could resuscitate someone's body to make her or him appear alive. On these notions of necromancy (and the related concept of divination), see Gilson, “Magical Lore” (n. 122 above), 34–45. For differences between natural magic and necromancy, see Klaassen, Transformation, 57–80. See also Augustine, De civitate dei 21.6–7 and 22.8–10 (CCL 49:766–70 and 815–28); Isidore, Etymologiae 8.5.2–3 and 8.9 (n. 49 above); and Gervase, Otia 3 Pr. (n. 47 above), 558–61.

136 Dante, Paradiso 25.1 (La Commedia, 4:409).

137 Boccaccio, Decameron 3.8.73 (ed. Branca, 427).

138 Ps. 50. On the adulterous resonances of the Miserere, see Boccaccio, Esposizioni 1.2.59 (Tutte le opere, 6:66).

139 Ps. 50:7.

140 Luke 1:31: “Behold you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you will call him Jesus” (Ecce concipies in utero et paries filium et vocabis nomen eius Iesum).

141 Boccaccio, Decameron 3.8.74 (ed. Branca, 427).

142 The citation is Augustine, De civitate dei 21.9.43–45 (CCL 49:775), but see also 21.9.53–63 (CCL 49:775); and more generally 21.9–10 (CCL 49:774–76).

143 Augustine, De civitate dei 21.15.3 (CCL 49:780) and generally 21.14–15 (CCL 49:780–81).

144 Boccaccio, Decameron 3.8.43 (ed. Branca, 422); more generally see 3.8.38–48 (ed. Branca, 422–23).

145 Boccaccio, Decameron 3.8.68 (ed. Branca, 426) and 3.8.73 (ed. Branca, 427).

146 Boccaccio, Decameron Pr. 1 (ed. Branca, 3).

147 Boccaccio, Decameron Pr. 10 (ed. Branca, 7).

148 Boccaccio, Decameron 3.8.37 (ed. Branca, 422); and 3.8.76 (ed. Branca, 427–28).

149 Boccaccio, Decameron 3.8.73 (ed. Branca, 427).

150 Boccaccio, Decameron 6 Conc., 7–16 (ed. Branca, 776–77) and 33–35 (ed. Branca, 781). On the words versus facts distinction, see Barolini, Teodolinda, “Le parole son femmine e i fatti sono maschi: Toward a Sexual Poetics of the Decameron (Decameron 2.9, 2.10, 5.10),” in Dante and the Origins of Italian Literary Culture (New York, 2006), 281303.

151 Augustine himself emphasized that Christ was incarnated to offer forgiveness and “compassion” (misericordia). See Augustine, De civitate dei 21.15.13–24 (CCL 49:781).

152 Boccaccio, Decameron 3.8.76 (ed. Branca, 427–28).

153 Boccaccio, Decameron 3.9.3 (ed. Branca, 429).

154 Hugh of St. Victor, De tribus diebus 4.84–90 (CCM 177:8–9).

155 Boccaccio, Decameron 4 Intr., 5 (ed. Branca, 460). This section complements scholarship on how Boccaccio engaged notions related to women and gender while reflecting on hermeneutic, rhetorical, social, and linguistic matters. See, for example, Marilyn Migiel, A Rhetoric of the Decameron (Toronto, 2003; examines how Boccaccio drew on gender while interrogating rhetorical and hermeneutic matters related to speaker and audience in the Decameron); F. Regina Psaki, “Voicing Gender in the Decameron,” in Companion to Boccaccio (n. 14 above), 101–17 (addresses matters concerning misogyny and philogyny in relation to social and linguistic issues in the Decameron); and Kristina Olson, “The Language of Women as Written by Men: Boccaccio, Dante and Gendered Histories of the Vernacular,” Heliotropia 8–9 (2011–12): 51–78 (discusses how literary traditions were coded as masculine [Latin] and feminine [vernacular] in the Middle Ages).

156 Boccaccio, Decameron 4 Intr., 6 (ed. Branca, 461).

157 Boccaccio, Decameron 4 Intr., 15 (ed. Branca, 463).

158 Boccaccio, Decameron 4 Intr., 19 (ed. Branca, 464, emphasis added).

159 Boccaccio, Decameron 4 Intr., 23 (ed. Branca, 465).

160 Boccaccio, Decameron 4 Intr., 24 (ed. Branca, 465).

161 Boccaccio, Decameron 4 Intr., 28 (ed. Branca, 465).

162 Boccaccio, Decameron 4 Intr., 29 (ed. Branca, 465).

163 These interpretations have been commonly proposed by scholars. See, for example, Virgulti, Ernesto, “In Defense of a Literature for a New Age: Boccaccio's ‘Introduction’ to Day IV of the Decameron,” in Transitions: Prospettive di studio sulle trasformazioni letterarie e linguistiche nella cultura italiana, ed. Brancato, Dario et al. (Florence, 2006), 105–22, at 114–18 (other bibliography related to this interpretation at 114 n. 16); and Michelangelo Picone, “Le papere di Fra Filippo (Intr. IV),” in Boccaccio e la codificazione della novella: Letture del Decameron, ed. Nicole Coderey, Claudia Genswein, and Rosa Pittorino (Ravenna, 2008), 171–83, at 173 and 181–83.

164 See, for example, Baxter, Catherine, “Turpiloquium in Boccaccio's Tale of the Goslings (Decameron, Day IV, Introduction),” Modern Language Review 108 (2013): 812–38; and David Lummus, “Boccaccio's Poetics” (n. 99 above), 74–81.

165 For a summary of Boccaccio's engagement with other versions of the story, see Picone, Michelangelo, “La circolazione di un racconto-cornice: Dal Barlaam e Josaphat al Decameron,” in La Circulation des nouvelles au Moyen Âge: Actes de la journée d’études (Université de Zurich, 24 janvier 2002), ed. Rossi, Luciano et al. (Alessandria, 2005), 147–66. Picone does not address matters related to marvels.

166 Boccaccio, Decameron 4 Intr., 24 (ed. Branca, 465).

167 Boccaccio, Filocolo 5.5.3 (ed. Vittore Branca, Tutte le opere, 2:555); and compare with 3.33 (Tutte le opere, 2:301–4); and 5.44 (Tutte le opere, 2:602–4). On marvels in the Filocolo, see Biow, Mirabile dictu (n. 20 above), 65–93.

168 Boccaccio, Genealogie 12 Pr, 2 and 4 (Tutte le opere, 8:1154).

169 Boccaccio, Esposizioni 5.1.103 and 102–6 (Tutte le opere, 6:305–6).

170 Boccaccio, Decameron 4 Intr., 28 (ed. Branca, 465).

171 Boccaccio, Decameron 3.10.6 and 13 (ed. Branca, 445 and 446, emphasis added).

172 Boccaccio, Decameron 4 Intr., 31 (ed. Branca, 466, emphasis added).

173 Boccaccio, Decameron 4 Intr. 41 (ed. Branca, 470).

174 Gervase, Otia 1.1 (n. 47 above), 26–27; Augustine, De civitate dei 21.10.25–27 (CCL 49:776).

175 Ambrose, Exameron 6.9.54–74 (CSEL 32.1:246–60); and Hugh of St. Victor, De tribus diebus 4.163–69 (CCM 177:12–13); 4.180–90 (CCM 177:14); 7.247–92 (CCM 177:17–20); and 11.401–6 (CCM 177:25).

176 Hugh of St. Victor, De tribus diebus 14.484–86 (CCM 177:30).

177 Boccaccio, Decameron 4 Intr., 33 (ed. Branca, 467).

178 Boccaccio, Decameron 4 Intr., 35 (ed. Branca, 467–68).

179 Boccaccio, Decameron 4 Intr., 36 (ed. Branca, 468).

180 On the relevance of these remarks for establishing a Tuscan literary canon, see Eisner, Boccaccio and the Invention, 5–8.

181 Dante, La vita nuova 2.5 [1.5], ed. Michele Barbi (Florence, 1932), 8. The references in square brackets refer to the divisions of the text proposed by Gorni: Vita nova, ed. Guglielmo Gorni (Turin, 1996).

182 Dante, La vita 2.1–2 [1.1–2] (ed. Barbi, 4–6).

183 Dante, La vita 26.2 [14.2] (ed. Barbi, 117).

184 Dante, La vita 2.8 [1.9], 26.2 [14.2], and 26.6.8 [17.6.8] (ed. Barbi, 9 and 117–19).

185 Dante, La vita 29.3 [19.6] (ed. Barbi, 129).

186 Dante, Purgatorio 31.49–51 (La Commedia, 3:536–37).

187 Boccaccio, Decameron, 6 Conc., 18 and see also 9–18 (ed. Branca, 776–77).

188 Boccaccio, Decameron 6 Conc., 19–24 (ed. Branca, 778–79).

189 Boccaccio, Decameron 6 Conc., 27 (ed. Branca, 780).

190 Dante, Purgatorio 28.1–3, 14–15, and 25–33 (La Commedia, 3:479–80).

191 Dante, Purgatorio 28.29 (La Commedia, 3:480); Boccaccio, Decameron 6 Conc., 27 and 30 (ed. Branca, 780).

192 Forms of maraviglia and ammirazione appear at Dante, Purgatorio 27.35, 39, 79, 89, 115 (La Commedia, 3:481, 481, 485, 486, 489).

193 Gen. 1:11–13, 26–31.

194 Dante, Purgatorio 28.139–48 (La Commedia, 3:492–93).

195 The likening of women's bodies illuminated in water to a rose seen through glass recalls a sunbeam penetrating but not changing glass. The rose without thorns and a ray of light through glass were common images of Mary, who remained a virgin though pregnant with Christ. On these Marian images, see McLean, Teresa, Medieval English Gardens (Mineola, NY, 2014), 127–31; Reynolds, Brian, Gateway to Heaven: Marian Doctrine and Devotion, Image and Typology in the Patristic and Medieval Periods, vol. 1, Doctrine and Devotion (Hyde Park, NY, 2012), 72 and 87; and Breeze, Andrew, “The Blessed Virgin and Sunbeam through Glass,” Celtica 23 (1999): 1929.

196 Some of Boccaccio's subsequent reflection on marvels deals explicitly with misuses and misunderstandings of marvels as well as with necromancy. For example, see Decameron 8.3 (8.3.5 [ed. Branca, 907]; Calandrino and the Heliotropia); 8.7 (8.7.47, 77, and 114 [ed. Branca, 954, 960, and 968]; Scholar and Widow); and in 10.5 (Ansaldo and a Marvelous Garden). For a discussion of these stories and issues, see Biow, Mirabile dictu (n. 20 above), 86–93.

197 The search for ridere was conducted through the Dartmouth Dante Project, accessed May 6, 2017, dante.dartmouth.edu. See Hawkins, Peter S., “All Smiles: Poetry as Theology in Dante's Commedia,” in Dante's Commedia: Theology as Poetry, ed. Montemaggi, Vittorio and Treherne, Matthew (Notre Dame, IN, 2010), 3659; and Sbacchi, Diego, “Il cielo che sorride a Dante,” Italica 92 (2015): 298308.

198 On the restorative and hygienic effects of pleasure in medieval culture and in the Decameron, see Olson, Glending, Literature as Recreation in the Later Middle Ages (Ithaca, 1982), 164232; and Olson, , “The Profit of Pleasure,” in Cambridge History of Literary Criticism, vol. 2, The Middle Ages, ed. Minnis, Alastair J. and Johnson, Ian (Cambridge, 2005), 275–87, at 279–85.

199 These codicological properties suggest that the poet's vernacular works should be considered on par with the writings of ancient authors. They thereby support Boccaccio's view that Dante should be included in the canon of auctoritates. On the properties and ideological import of Boccaccio's anthologies of Dante's writings (Vita nova, canzoni distese, and Comedy), see Armstrong, “Boccaccio and Dante” (n. 24 above), 122–27; and Eisner, Boccaccio and Invention (n. 24 above), 1–16 and 50–73. The manuscripts in question are: Toledo, Archivo y Biblioteca Capitulares Zelada 104.6 [late 1340s to mid-1350s]; Florence, Biblioteca Riccardiana 1035 (c. 1360); Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana Chigi L.V.176 (c. 1363–66); and Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana Chigi L.VI.213 (c. 1363–66).

Research conducted by my wife, Caroline Wilky, informed several notions about the marvelous described in this article. This essay is thus appreciatively and lovingly dedicated to her. Her doctoral thesis, “Chronicling Creation: Nature and History Writing, c. 1150–1240” (PhD diss., University of Notre Dame, 2015), traces how evolving views about nature in the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries influenced late medieval historiography. She discusses how Gerald of Wales, Gervase of Tilbury, and Jacques de Vitry in the early thirteenth century created new genres of history writing by describing European rather than eastern wonders. I am also grateful to my friends and colleagues Zyg Barański and David Lummus, who commented on an earlier draft of this essay. Finally, I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers who gave suggestions for revising this study and express my gratitude to the editorial board of Traditio for publishing it.

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