The novels of Giovanni Sercambi: On the trail and away from the Decameron


  • Petya Petkova-Staleva



novella, framing narrative, authornarrator, delight, lesson


Giovanni Sercambi’s collection of novellas is another step in the development of the genre: although it ostensibly follows the path outlined by the Decameron, a number of innovations can be found that give it a special place. The author-narrator enjoys a privileged position in the artistic world of the work, fitting into the framing narrative as one of the characters acting to create a narrative situation as “realistic” as possible. His role as narrator and author of the book is formalised within the narrative itself. The purpose of the novella’s narrative evolves throughout the collection from consolation during the long journey at the beginning of the collection to a lesson contained in the examples worthy of emulation. The traveling party, which voluntarily agrees to obey certain rules, can be seen as a model of society in miniature, and its formation as a political and social project based on Christian morality. The path, into which the fellowship embarks, therefore, far from aiming only at physical survival, also aims at salvation from spiritual death, becoming a symbol of man’s way of life. The titles of the novellas are also a novelty in the novelistic tradition, which will have almost no precedents in the next two centuries.


Мари (2018): Mari, Fabrizio. Sercambi, Giovanni. Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani. Volume 92 (2018)[online]. Available from: [Accessed 21 March 2022].

Серкамби (1972): Giovanni Sercambi. Novelle, a cura diGiovanni Sinicropi, volume primo Bari Gius. Laterza& figli tipografi – editori – librai.




How to Cite

Petkova-Staleva, P. (2021). The novels of Giovanni Sercambi: On the trail and away from the Decameron. Yearbook of the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures, 3, 144–163.