Confession and Social Space in the Decameron

Katherine A. Brown
2019 Quaderni d'Italianistica  
This essay argues that confession in the Decameron is a liminal activity, which affords characters and readers a milieu removed from the space of society in which transformation and ultimately a temporary moment of transcendence of the secular world (almost a return to paradise) are achieved. In the tales of the Decameron in which confession is central to the narrative (novelle I.1, III.3, and VII.5), the liminal is a locus of trickery. Boccaccio subverts the notion of spiritual transcendence
more » ... ual transcendence traditionally associated with the sacrament of confession and playfully substitutes the profane and the divine for each other. The parallels these stories establish between confession as a liminal activity and reading the Decameron suggests that Boccaccio's masterpiece has the potential to transform its public in social but not necessarily metaphysical ways.
doi:10.33137/q.i..v38i2.32231 fatcat:csjymuh53beg3objfdbtquw5ue