In an expert and thought-provoking reading of tragic and comic stories in the Decameron, Millicent Marcus proposes that several of the most brutal tragedies are the result of the literalization of metaphor, and that Filostrato's tale of Ricciardo Manardi and Caterina da Valbona (Decameron 5.4) rewrites those tragic stories in order to show the beneficial consequences of embracing figurative exchanges.(1) Filostrato's tale is, in Marcus's words, an "an adventure in circumlocution," where the young lovers succeed, first of all, because from the very beginning they share a figurative language ("dying" for love, suffering "heat," "hearing the nightingale sing") that will allow them to circumvent protective parents and fulfill their desires.(2) Further helping to tip the scales away from death is Caterina's father, Messer Lizio, who rather than take offense, is open to accept and even himself to deploy the metaphors that the young lovers have offered. In the novella's most comic transposition of figures, Messer Lizio takes a veiled metaphor for sex ("making the nightingale sing") and extends and reshapes it so that it becomes, as Marcus notes, a "conceit for marriage":(3) "converra che primieramente la sposi, si che egli si trovera aver messo l'usignuolo nella gabbia sua e non nell'altrui" ("he will have to marry her first; thus he shall have put his nightingale into his own cage and not into anybody else's!" [5.4.38; p. 339]).(4) Acceptance of figurative language shields Caterina, Ricciardo, and Messer Lizio from the tragedy that had befallen Ghismonda, Guiscardo, and Tancredi in Decameron 4.1.
A reading like Marcus's, which emphasizes the enormous difference that language can make, does much to explain why Filostrato's story is so striking and compelling.(5) No doubt, we are moved and reassured by the idea that the production and the manipulation of language is salutary. The tale further reinforces this by rendering the characters' dialogue very prominently, first as Caterina seeks to persuade her mother to let her sleep on the balcony (where she hopes to meet Ricciardo); then as Caterina's mother intercedes with her father; and finally, after the lovers are discovered in delicto flagrante, when Ricciardo pleas with Caterina's father to spare his life. One senses that the energy of life is conveyed in the possibility of continued expression. It is when silence falls that one suspects the worst.
Although I affirm the validity of Marcus' reading, which is most certainly supported by the novella, I believe that another reading of men, women, and figurative language in Decameron 5.4--a reading in tension with Marcus's affirmation of the young lovers' active choice and expression--remains nestled here. If we read Filostrato's story with attention to the power relations formed around the use of figurative language, we see that the story isn't really very reassuring to readers--or at least not to readers of a feminist persuasion. As in several of his other stories, Filostrato keeps the control of social codes and of language in the hands of men, especially elder men. He presents a conflicted view of women: empowered on one hand to express their sexuality (at least initially, and within certain bounds), but ultimately dispossessed of language.
The novella shows us that the creative use of language will make not a whit of difference in social relations if the status quo is significantly threatened. Ricciardo can fall in love with Caterina, even fiercely (fieramente [5.4.6]), and is not necessarily destined for a tragic end because the social configuration of the characters is different from those we saw both in the tragic stories of Decameron 4 and to French and Provencal sources and analogues.(6) Caterina is unmarried (unlike the wives in the vida of Guilhem de Cabestanh, in Decameron 4.9, and in Marie de France's "Laustic"), so her relationship with Ricciardo is potentially licit. Her parents are anxious to find a good match for her (as Tancredi was not in Decameron 4.1 and Lisabetta's brothers were not in 4.5). A male's overbearing feelings toward the young woman in his charge are avoided at least partly because a mother is present (as she was not in Decameron 4.1 or 4.5).(7) Finally, Guiscardo of Decameron 4.1 and Guilhem de Cabestanh of the Provencal narrative, though worthy and loving, do not have the wealth and nobility that make Ricciardo of a social standing at least equal to--if not better than--that of Caterina's family.
If we keep these social power relations in mind, we will be more likely to see that the free agency of the young lovers is a myth. Sexuality is hardly the arena where they (or we, for that matter) enjoy the greatest degree of choice. Their "success," if one wishes to call it that, is the result of the compatibility of the expression of their desires with that of the dominant ideology of their immediate family and community.
Encouraged to empathize with the young lovers seeking happiness in Day 5 of the Decameron, we may not want to see this inevitable fact. As long as we place ourselves as desiring subjects, we will interpret the events first through the eyes of Ricciardo (because the story begins with him, his desire for Caterina, and his plan for satisfying his desire), and then from the perspective of Caterina (because she seeks to persuade her mother that she needs to be on the balcony). These identifications will tend to remain steady as long as the novella keeps the reader focused on the tension-filled moments when the lovers might fail in their quest for love and life. Ricciardo suggests, with the unwittingness of a young lover accepting the dominant language of love, that he could die of his passion ("Caterina, io ti prego che tu non mi facci morire amando" [5.4.8]). He could die as he makes the dangerous ascent to the balcony in order to spend the night with Caterina. His near encounter with death is exposed in its full horror when Filostrato describes, with language certain to remind us of the throbbing excised hearts of earlier tragic tales, the moment of discovery and recognition: "Quando Ricciardo il vide [messer Lizio], parve che gli fosse il cuore del corpo strappato" ("When Ricciardo saw him [Messer Lizio], he felt as if his heart were being ripped from his body" [5.4.42; p. 340]). Moments like these intensify our bond of empathetic identification with Caterina and Ricciardo, encouraging us to focus on their ability to overcome obstacles, and making us fear for them when they seem doomed.
The lovers avoid a tragic end, but not necessarily because they control figurative language. We cannot be entirely certain that we know what Caterina means when she says that she is hot at night and would be comforted by the song of the nightingale. Is she referring to the heat of her passion? Perhaps. Is she equating the nightingale with Ricciardo, rather than with a more general notion of amorous desire and fulfillment? This already seems less certain, especially since the situation of "listening to the nightingale," common in medieval love poetry from the twelfth century on, was "identified with that long, or endless period when the lover is aware of his love, but still knows himself unable to reach it".(8) Since Caterina's actual design is never revealed, we know solely what we think her language means. Only a few readers--and in my assessment, only those predisposed to spy erotic imagery at the least provocation--assume that Caterina is talking about her own burning passion when she complains of the heat; even readers aware that the nightingale is traditionally a poetic emblem of amorous desire are unlikely to think that the nightingale could be Ricciardo himself.(9) On margin, readers tend at this early point in the novella to see Caterina's statements as her mother does, i.e., as exclamations of delight in the offerings of nature. Even when Ricciardo and Caterina meet on her father's balcony, and Filostrato states that "they took their pleasure in each other, making the nightingale sing many times" ("piacer presono l'un dell'altro, molte volte faccendo cantar l'usignuolo" ["they took delight and pleasure in one another, and as they did, they made the nightingale sing time and time again" (5.4.29; p. 339)]), it is not yet a given that the reader will take the nightingale to mean, as it clearly does after Messer Lizio arrives on the scene, Ricciardo's male member. In the context of a novella that has not yet turned bawdy, it seems more likely that "they made the nightingale sing" would be the equivalent of phrases like "there were fireworks" or "the earth shook," stand-ins for the more explicit "they had sex." Although we piece the puzzle together as the novella progresses, and see the full significance of early figurative language only retrospectively, we like to believe that we have always been fully aware of what Caterina's language meant; many readers tend even to affirm her control of her language because it is unsettling to think that a speaker could wield figurative language without judging its full range and impact.
We ought to be reminded of the opaqueness of Caterina's language by the presence of several other phrases that are likely to stump us. Interceding for her daughter, Madonna Giacomina argues that Caterina should be allowed to sleep on the balcony because "I giovani son vaghi delle cose simiglianti a loro" ("Young people like things that are like themselves" [5.4.25; p. 338]). To what is she comparing the young people? The nightingale? The cool nights? The phrase seems so peculiar that Guido Waldman, in translating it, twists it so that it makes more sense, rendering it as "Those are the sorts of things that give pleasure to youngsters."(10) Likewise, when Messer Lizio responds to his wife's request by saying, "Che rusignuolo e questo ache ella vuol dormire? Io la faro ancora adormentare al canto delle cicale" ("What is this nonsense about being serenaded to sleep by a nightingale? I'll make her sleep to the tune of the crickets [lit., cicadas] in broad daylight!" [5.4.23; p. 338]), what does he mean to say? The sense of his statement is something like, "She'll sleep when and how I want her to sleep!", with perhaps, I would argue, a veiled threat (something like "I could be truly unpleasant about this if I wanted to be!" or "I'll make her see stars in broad daylight!"). The point is not to decide on an exact translation of Messer Lizio's grousing, but rather to remember that his figurative language permits multiple translations. Between metaphorical language and its referent, there is room for maneuvering, and for misunderstanding. Not always are we in control.
The figurative language of the novella resists us, but we resist thinking that might be the case. Why? To the extent that they focus on meaning as an end term rather than on the process by which meaning is constructed in a text, readers tend to forget about initial interpretive difficulties they may have encountered. In the case of Decameron 5.4, they genuinely do not ever remember the time when they were not fully aware of the way that words like "heat" and "nightingale" could become sexually charged.
The novella privileges the moment of discovery, especially as it returns insistently to the image of Messer Lizio drawing back the curtain. When Messer Lizio first enters the balcony, he wishes to see how the nightingale allowed Caterina to sleep: "E andato oltre pianamente levo alto la sargia della quale il letto era fasciato, e Ricciardo e lei vide ignudi e iscoperti dormire abbracciati ..." ("and walking out onto the balcony he lifted up the curtain around the bed and saw Ricciardo and Caterina sleeping completely naked in each other's arms ..." [5.4.32; p. 339; emphasis mine]). This language of lifting the curtain, easily a metaphor itself for arriving at the meaning of a metaphor, is repeated when Lizio brings his wife Giacomina to see the scene for herself: "giunti amenduni al letto e levata la sargia, pote manifestamente vedere madonna Giacomina come la figliuola avesse preso e tenesse l'usignuolo ..." ("when they both reached the bed and lifted the curtain, Madonna Giacomina saw for herself exactly how her daughter had managed to catch and hold on to the nightingale" [5.4.36; p. 339; emphasis mine]). The moment of lifting the curtain is so important that it is repeated yet a third time, when the lovers awaken, even though we are never given any indication that Caterina's parents would have let it down; so when Ricciardo wakes, realizes it is day, and calls out in distress to Caterina, Messer Lizio, "[having] raised the curtain" ("levata la sargia" [5.4.41; p. 340]), appears before them.
Since none of us really wants to believe that we could be duped (at least not for long) by someone else's crafty use of metaphoric language, we are likely to elect to be in the position of Messer Lizio, bourgeois mentality and all. (The novella even plays on our fears that we could be misled by our unconscious desires, and it offers us some encouragement to believe that Messer Lizio is cognizant of what both the lovers and he are doing even from the beginning. Why else should he lock the door to the balcony, for example? He cannot possibly fear that someone will enter the balcony from the inside.) As the novella steers the reader to shift subject position, it reinforces the idea that sexual activity is permissible only if it remains within the bounds of institutional authority.
Power, manifesting itself as control of discourse and of choice, moves into the hands of Messer Lizio. In a story where dialogue among the characters plays a very significant part, Messer Lizio is the last person to pronounce a long speech, threatening Ricciardo with death but giving him the option of contracting a marriage. Since Ricciardo is given no choice but to comply with Messer Lizio's will, it would seem that his ability to act, his power, is limited. But in fact, he shares in the elder man's power. His elegant and courteous speech puts him on par at least with the authoritative father, who, although he is a "cavaliere" ("knight" [5.4.4; p. 336]) and is certainly capable of solemn pronouncements (as in 5.4.43), has previously been heard to speak with less refined vocabulary and rhythms, most especially when he addresses his wife: "Via, faccialevisi un letto tale quale egli vi cape ..." ([5.4.26]) and "Su tosto, donna, lievati e vieni a vedere" ([5.4.33]).(11) Tipping the balance in favor of Ricciardo, of course, is the Decameron's ironic commentary on the Divine Comedy's presentation of Messer Lizio as a figure exemplary of a lost Golden Age of courtliness and disinterested benefaction. In the Terrace of Envy, Guido del Duca, lamenting the loss of that golden era, exclaims: "Ov'e `l buon Lizio e Arrigo Mainardi? / Pier Traversaro e Guido di Carpigna? / Oh Romagnuoli tornati in bastardi!" ("Where is the good Lizio and Arrigo Mainardi, Pier Traversaro and Guido di Carpigna? O men of Romagna turned to bastards!" [Purgatorio 14.97-99]).(12) The Lizio da Valbona of Decameron 5.4, however, would have some difficulty holding his own against the virtues of the historical personage acclaimed in the Purgatorio 14; he sometimes seems as if he emerged from the fabliau tradition instead. As for Ricciardo, his situation is different. While the narrator/Author of the Decameron has evidently been inspired by the name "Arrigo Mainardi" in Purgatorio 14.97, his claim to higher ideals is unsullied by a negative comparison to character in Dante's poem. There is no historical record of a Ricciardo Manardi, and the Ricciardo of Decameron 5.4 appears to adhere to Guido del Duca's ideals in Purgatorio 14 (including, one gathers, the anxiety about bastardization of family lines).
The characters who recede as the men consolidate their institutional and discursive power are the women, who stand as mere witnesses to the men's agreement. Caterina, who may never have been especially conscious of the levels of figurative language that she manipulates, exercises ever diminishing control of language. By the end of the story, it seems that she has just stumbled unwittingly upon the language that has ultimately functioned in her favor. When her father confronts her and Ricciardo, she lets go of the nightingale and of the possibility of speaking about it; she is reduced to tears and pleas. What she says is marked as less important than what the men say because it is reported in indirect discourse. She becomes ever less visible to us.
Meanwhile, Caterina's mother, Madonna Giacomina, falls short of the task of reading and speaking. Caterina's statements sail over her head, and she is never given the opportunity to play an active role in discovering the "real meaning" of Caterina's language. In accord with medieval misogynist views of women as mobile, she is presented as unable to stay with any given opinion for very long. She changes her mind when a new (even if opposing) point of view is advanced. She does not respond at first to Caterina's request, but does so after Caterina complains insistently about the heat; later, she is quick to be angry with Ricciardo, but is silent after she sees her husband's reaction. Furthermore, although she was originally presented as a figure who could mediate between the young and the old, it is she who threatens to become the critical and punitive judge when she finds herself betrayed by Ricciardo: "tenendosi forte di Ricciardo ingannata, voile gridare e dirgli villania" ("Feeling that she had been treacherously deceived by Ricciardo, the lady wanted to scream at him and to insult him"[5.4.37; p. 339]). This is, I think, a bid to make Messer Lizio to look even more kind, compromising, merciful by comparison. Responsibility for any threat of unhappiness is shifted onto a woman (though we should note that screaming at Ricciardo and insulting him would be a far cry from tearing out his heart).
The novella strains at the end to make it look as if power is shared equally even if it is not. Consider the moment when the parents exit, leaving the young lovers alone: "messer Lizio e la donna partendosi dissono: `Riposatevi oramai, che forse maggior bisogno n'avete che di levarvi'" ("Messer Lizio and his wife left them, saying: `Now go back to sleep, for you probably need sleep more than you do getting up'" [5.4.47; p. 340]). What can it possibly mean that "Messer Lizio and his wife" say this sentence? That they pronounce it in unison? The prospect seems quite absurd. More likely, the reader imagines Messer Lizio -- who, after all, has been doing most of the talking since Madonna Giacomina fell silent--pronouncing the statement with Madonna Giacomina willing to go along with his views.(13)
Filostrato and Messer Lizio play with figurative language in the presence of women. They flaunt it. They dare the women to understand. Their goal is to control figurative language, to make it a matter of male rather than female prerogative. Filostrato makes figurative language about sexuality a point of contention as he describes the sleeping lovers, and tells his listeners that Caterina had hold of "quella cosa che voi tra gli uomini piu vi vergognate di nominare" ("that thing which you ladies are ashamed to name in the company of gentlemen" [5.4.30; p. 339]). It might appear that Filostrato acknowledges the ladies' sense of decorum when he refuses to name that thing upon which Caterina's hand rests. He is honorable, they are honorable, and indeed, what could the problem with this be? But there is a problem because Filostrato's editorial comment is not as accomodating and gracious as that. In effect, rather than recognizing the integrity of the ladies, he is obliquely accusing them of engaging in duplicitous behavior--of having one standard of conduct and speech in public, another in private. He is cornering them, so that their only legitimate option is denial of conspiracy and renunciation of figurative language as furtive. The unstated consequence of such a renunciation is male control of figurative language, male awareness of secrecy.
It seems that Filostrato has changed his tune since Day 4, so after he finishes his story on Day 5, the women of the group laugh. But even if they accept the humor, they might wish to be more discerning. The fact that his story of Guiglielmo Rossiglione and Guiglielmo Guardastagno (Decameron 4.9) and his story of the nightingale (Decameron 5.4) have different outcomes--tragic on one hand, "comic" on the other--is of little relevance to the deep structure of the tales. Filostrato has continued to narrate the same story about alliances among men, male power, male mastery.
The Author's rubric to Decameron 5.4 highlights relations among men. It reads: "Ricciardo Manardi e trovato da messer Lizio da Valbona con la figliuola, la quale egli sposa e col padre di lei rimane in buona pace" ("Ricciardo Manardi is found by Messer Lizio da Valbona with his daughter, whom he marries, and he remains on good terms with her father" [5.4.1; p. 336]).(14) The translator Guido Waldman, finding the Author's rubrics unappealing to modern audiences, often takes the liberty of rewriting them.(15) His substitute rubric for this tale reads, "Lizio's daughter Caterina sleeps out on the balcony in the fresh air and listens to the nightingale; how she catches one and what results."(16) It is true that Guido Waldman captures the story that we might very much wish to see. He draws us into the tale with an enigmatic statement of the sort that modern readers very much like. He emphasizes Caterina's agency; he makes the novella a story about an enterprising young woman who gets her man--alive. But Waldman's rubric is, as should be clear from my argument above, a misrepresentation of what is really at issue in the story. It is the Author's rubric that is on the mark, encouraging us to see that the novella is ultimately not about a woman's agency, but about the consolidation of power relations among men.
By the time Filostrato tells this tale, he has played enough of his cards for readers to be able to see beyond surface messages (apparent philogyny) to the deeper message (concerns about male power, especially among rivals). Awareness of this allows us to reevaluate the "philogyny" of other of Filostrato's novellas in which sexuality is at issue: Rinaldo d'Asti (2.2), Masetto da Lamporecchio (3.1), Madonna Filippa (6.7), Peronella (7.2). In almost all these novellas, the sexual encounters are presented as victories for the male rival: Rinaldo d'Asti returns home unscathed after an encounter with robbers and, more important, a one-night stand with a woman who took him in after her lover failed to appear that evening; Masetto da Lamporecchio successfully cuckolds Christ, and avoids having to shoulder the financial and emotional responsibilities of parenthood; and Peronella's lover Giannello achieves sexual satisfaction as he possesses her (but no attention is given to her sexual feelings).
On one hand, a pro-woman message, on the other, a message about the supremacy of male relations. Filostrato, the sole narrator of the Decameron who speaks of his identity (at the end of Day 3), tells us that he is "overcome by love," just as the name imposed upon him would reveal. Telling us that he is masked, he dares the listener/reader to see who he really is.(17) But what Filostrato tells us is not only that he is "overcome by love." To think so is to have missed the main point, which is that he is the bearer of an encrypted message. So we should not be surprised that in his novellas, we find a "cryptonomy" similar in structure to the one that Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok identified for Freud's Wolf Man.(18)
For Freud, the Wolf Man's neurosis could be drawn back to a single decisive event in the Wolf Man's past: the primal scene or primal fantasy in which the Wolf Man had witnessed his parents engage in coitus a tergo.(19) Abraham and Torok, on the other hand, privilege "words" over "events"; they read the dreams and the symptoms of the Wolf Man (material articulated in splintered fashion across Russian, German, and English) as a tongue-tied dialogue about the real or the fictional status of an event. According to Abraham and Torok, the Wolf Man found himself forced to state whether the event he witnessed was real or imagined, and could not in all good faith do so.(20)
Like Freud's Wolf Man, Filostrato "is himself only when he creates himself as enigma."(21) Of central importance in his cryptonomy is the nightingale. This bird (the usignuolo or rusignuolo of Decameron 5.4) stands in for the lover Ricciardo and his male member. Transposed into Italian as "Rossiglione," from the French Roussillon or Rossillon which is related to the Old French word for "nightingale" (rossignol), it stands in also for the (by law) "legitimate" husband in Filostrato's tale of Guglielmo Rossiglione and Guglielmo Guardastagno (Decameron 4.9). Finally, as the transposition takes place on classical Latin terrain, the nightingale (Philomela) stands for Filomena, the woman of the group with whom Filostrato is presumed to be enamoured.(22) Thus, the "nightingale," the name assigned to "quella cosa che voi tra gli uomini piu vi vergognate di nominare" ("that thing which you ladies are ashamed to name in the company of gentlemen" [5.4.30; p. 339]), also masks that thing which Filostrato is incapable of speaking. This is not, as some might be tempted to think, because "nightingale" signifies the "penis" as a name under censure. Rather, it is because the nightingale signifies a censored knot of subject positions: the puissance of the legitimate husband/father; the virility of the male rival who threatens the husband/father; and the woman who is the object of their desires.(23)
Listening to the nightingale is a form of listening to the crypt. The crypt displaces and fragments identity; so does the nightingale, the bearer of the silenced and encrypted message. The nightingale stands not only as the symbol of elusive amorous desire, but also of the identity (and ideology) that eludes us. Listening to the nightingale therefore reminds us, no matter how heartening the story about the pleasures of capturing that nightingale, that the reassurance about the identity of what we have caught is likely to be only temporary.
(1) Millicent Marcus, "Tragedy as Trespass: The Tale of Tancredi and Ghismonda (IV," 1)," chap. 3 of An Allegory of Form: Literary Self-Consciousness in the "Decameron (Saratoga, CA: Anma Libri, 1979), 44-63.
(2) Ibid., 56.
(3) Ibid., 58.
(4) Here and afterwards, for the Italian text, see Giovanni Boccaccio, Decameron, ed. Vittore Branca (Milan: Mondadori, 1985); the English translation is taken from Giovanni Boccaccio, The Decameron, trans. Mark Musa and Peter Bondanella (New York: Penguin Books, 1982).
(5) As Mario Baratto notes, "La V, 4 resta singolare, si potrebbe dire unica, nel Decameron, per il tema che la occupa interamente e ne guida lo stile narrativo" (Realta e stile nel "Decameron," 2nd ed. [Rome: Editori Riuniti, 1993], 257).
(6) See the Vida of Guilhem de Cabestanh, the Roman du Chatelain de Couci, and Marie de France's "Laustic."
(7) Comparing Decameron 5.4 with 4.1, Marcus notes, "Though Caterina is also an only child born in her father's dotage, the active presence of the mother in the story defuses the incestuous possibilities which govern Ghismonda's fate" (An Allegory of Form, 56).
(8) See Thomas Alan Shippey, "Listening to the Nightingale," Comparative Literature 22.1 (1970): 51.
(9) Indeed, as Shippey has argued, the effectiveness of Decameron 5.4 depends on the reader noticing that Caterina's use of the courtly phrase "listening to the nightingale" (a traditional representation of the longing of the frustrated lover) is incongruent with her situation as a lover who achieves sexual fulfillment ("Listening to the Nightingale," 52n).
Louise O. Vasvari, in "L'usignuolo in gabbia: Popular Tradition and Pornographic Parody in the Decameron," Forum Italicum 28:2 (Fall 1994): 224-51, argues, on the basis of what she calls "pornithology," that the reader should equate the nightingale with the male genitalia because birds are in general an eroticizea metaphor in Italian and Latin. But it seems revealing that Vasvari can cite no instances aside from Decameron 5.4 in which the nightingale per se (as opposed to the cock, the blackbird, or the sparrow, for example) is used as a metaphor for the penis.
(10) Giovanni Boccaccio, Decameron, trans. Guido Waldman (Oxford U. Press, 1993), 342.
(11) Vittore Branca points out in the notes to his edition of the Decameron that Ricciardo's earlier plea to Caterina is articulated as a sequence of four hendecasyllables; see also Boccaccio medievale e nuovi studi sul "Decameron," 7th ed. (Florence: Sansoni: 1990), 70.
(12) Italian text and English translation are taken from Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, translated, with a commentary, by Charles S. Singleton, 6 vols. (Princeton U. Press, 1977).
(13) It is also possible that since the command to "rest" is a coded invitation to engage in further sexual activity, putting this sentence in the mouth of "both parents" shields us from the shock value that the statement would have if it were put into the mouth of a woman.
(14) In the opening section of his novella, Filostrato even leads his listener to believe that perhaps the main source of interest (even erotic interest) might be between the men. Introducing Ricciardo, Filostrato says, "Ora usava molto nella casa di messer Lizio e molto con lui si riteneva" (5.4.6), only later to reveal that the subject of this sentence, "un giovane bello e fresco della persona" (5.4.6) is a match for the beautiful and attractive daughter of Messer Lizio.
(15) Waldman explains, "Readers today, whatever their susceptibilities, usually take it amiss if a publisher or reviewer gives away the tale's ending before they have started reading it. I have therefore in certain cases rewritten the story's heading to preserve the element of surprise ..." (Boccaccio, Decameron, trans. Waldman, xxxiii).
(16) Ibid., 340.
(17) See Roberto Fedi, "Il `regno' di Filostrato: Natura e struttura della Giornata IV del Decameron," MLN 102 (1987): 43: "La dichiarazione e per molti versi eccezionale. E' infatti la prima volta che un personaggio della cornice mostra, per cosi dire, la sua carta d'identita al lettore, riferendosi apertamente a. se ad alia sua origine ed al suo ipotizzabile futuro, di personaggio (ne seguira l'esempio solo un altro narratore, anch'egli veramente singolare: Dioneo, ma nel suo consueto modo svagato e scherzoso, e senza fare cenno alle sue origini)."
(18) Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok, The Wolf Man's Magic Word: A Cryptonomy, trans. Nicholas Rand, foreword by Jacques Derrida (U. of Minnesota Press, 1986).
(19) Sigmund Freud, "From the History of an Infantile Neurosis (1918 )," in vol. 17 of The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works, trans. James Strachey (The Hogarth Press, 1955).
(20) See Rand, "Translator's Introduction" to The Wolf Man's Magic Word, lviii. In general, Rand identifies the difference between the two readings of the Wolf Man as follows: Freuds theory of the primal scene or fantasy allowed for a coherently organized narrative that does not fully grasp the incredibility and the "unreadability" of the Wolf Man; Abraham and Torok's theory provides insight into the Wolf Man's "life poem" because they are able to see that the Wolf Man's dreams and symptoms are organized around mutually exclusive assertions.
(21) Ibid., lix.
(22) See Ovid, Metamorphoses 6.668, where however, we are never told what birds Procne and Philomela are turned into. By extension, however, Procne and Philomela come to refer to the swallow (hirundo) and the nightingale (luscinia, lusciniola) respectively.
(23) Only on Days IV-V do we see how important, the nightingale, as a figure with an encrypted message, has become; but in retrospect, one suspects that as early as Day 2, Filostrato may have anticipated the importance he will ascribe to names on Day 4 (especially Guiglielmo Rossiglione and Guiglielmo Guardastagno [emphasis mine], when he notes that the encounter between the lady and Rinaldo d'Asti takes place at Castel Guiglielmo (2.2.1, 13, 14, 15).…