With his collection of tales the Decameron (manuscript 1349-53) Giovanni Boccaccio became one of the most famous authors in world literature, influential up to the twentieth century in Europe. The black death of 1348 provides the stark backdrop and frame for the inlaid 100 stories, including anecdotes, folk and fairy tales, and novellas based on extremely varied sources found in Roman antiquity, in the Orient, in French fabliaux (burlesque verse tales), and in the contemporary Italian scene. In the hills outside of Florence, seven patrician ladies and three men tell ten stories each from a perspective that displays the highest virtues of the rising merchant middle class – ingenuity, perspicacity, and living by one's wits …
Hoffmeister, Gerhart. "Boccaccio and the Rise of the Novella in Germany". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 June 2010; last revised 30 November -1.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=13860, accessed 28 April 2015.]