Giovanni Sercambi and Narratives of the Black Death

Osheim, Duane J.
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The Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (SASMARS)
Giovanni Sercambi tells us he was born in Lucca as plague devastated the city in 1348 and generally he is held to have died during the plague of 1424. As it did for Boccaccio, plague provided the frame story for Sercambi’s Novelliere. And plague was an almost constant background in Lucca where he lived, worked and wrote his Croniche and his stories.1 As a result of plague and warfare, population declined across the period in which he wrote.2 At critical points epidemics carried away critical political leaders. Sercambi recalled that it was as plague raged in Lucca that he urged Paolo Guinigi to put himself forward, thwart the hopes of those who would bring down the Guinigi family, and take control of Lucchese government.3 It is worth asking just how Sercambi reasoned about plague.
Middle Ages -- Periodicals. , Renaissance -- Periodicals. , Middle Ages. , Renaissance.