Il Decamerone, Annotations: 2

Here we see that Hoby has added a word to the glossary which accompanied his copy of Il Decamerone. The word is ‘Scioperato’ (idle) and he has glossed it as meaning ‘disutile, ignavo, huomo senza pensiero’ (‘useless, indolent, a heedless man’). This small detail has much to tell us about Hoby’s working practices as a student of Italian. Although the glossaries which accompanied other mid-sixteenth-century editions of Il Decamerone either glossed the word differently or omitted it entirely, there is an Italian dictionary, Francesco Alunno’s La fabrica del mondo (1548), which defines it in remarkably similar terms: ‘disoperato, cioè senza opera alcuna, et pero disutile, et senza pe[n]siero’ (‘idle, that is without any pastime, and thus useless, and heedless’). It seems likely, therefore, that Hoby was using a copy of this very work to help him to read Boccaccio and, in turn, to improve his command of Italian.

Giovanni Boccaccio, Il Decamerone (Venice: Vincenzo Valgrisi, 1555), Vocabolario, sig. f4v. Audley End, on loan from a private collection.

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