Eroticizing Theology in Day Three and the Poetics of the Decameron

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2013

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Abstract

This essay argues that the fusion of the erotic and religious that characterizes Day Three of the Decameron constitutes a central element in Boccaccio’s poetics, as expressed both in the (significantly contiguous with Day Three) Introduction to Day Four, where Boccaccio aligns himself with lyric poets who had explored the same issue of the relationship between eros and theology, and in the Author’s Conclusion, where the erotics of religious art are a central part of his defense of poetry. As this textual itinerary suggests, Boccaccio’s eroticization of theology in Day Three is part of an effort to theologize poetry by giving literature the same institutional status afforded to the disciplines of philosophy and theology.

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