Spoiled Children of Divorce


Exemplary Love Children – Boccaccio
April 3, 2010, 7:33 pm
Filed under: creativity, Exemplary Children of Divorce, Uncategorized

Am not real sure if Children are Born to Parents Who Never Married should be lumped in with Children of Divorce, but I just can’t help adding this one into the Exemplaries List on this blog.  There are a whole lot of people who grew up under the humiliating term “illegitimate” who have excelled in society beyond most people’s wildest imaginations.  Leonardo da Vinci immediately pops into mind.  Certainly one of the best things that has come from the acceptance of Divorce in modern society is the fact that these people don’t have to grow up with quite the stigma that they used to.

At any rate, I read some of the stories from Boccaccio’s Decameron back in college and for some reason one of them keeps coming into mind. The Decameron is a compilation of one hundred stories that are retold against a background story set in the Black Plague which was a current event for Boccaccio.

One story keeps popping up in my head.  It’s about a guy named Ser Capparello, a totally rotten and evil guy.  It’s the first story in the set of 100 stories about the ways that common people naturally behave in society.   Summary of the story is on Wikipedia:  Capparello is a rotten guy.  He dies while living in a town in which he is completely unknown, and when the Priest is giving him his last rites he gives a string of lies about how he has done so much good for society during his life.  The Priest has to believe him.  And in the end Capparello dies and is even given Sainthood.  This story is incredible for its insights into human nature and for its satirical genius.

I suppose if one grows up as an “illegitimate child” one automatically grows up as a bit of an outsider in life.  One can either feel left out because of this or one can grow up feeling very amused by what one witnesses.  As a kid who witnessed my parents going through the dating process I sort of can relate to this.  I remember watching my friends learning things about the opposite sex that I already had witnessed a million times.  Of course, learning through witnessing and learning by experiencing are completely different things and that’s probably where things get really messed up for Children of Divorce in life as they hit adulthood.   We have a whole lot of deja vus.  At any rate, Boccaccio’s recounting of the stories from the Decameron show insights about human nature that only a very wise soul could relate to.  And they are told through the survivalist tactics of light heartedness and humor.  After all, growing up as an illegitimate child in a Catholic Society along with living through a Plague which ravaged half of Europe is not exactly a setting for an easy life.

Boccaccio’s biography is scant.  It appears that he was born in 1313 to a woman who is never talked about and a father who was a Merchant. He lived with is father who married at some point and I’m not sure how many half siblings he had.  Boccaccio’s Step-Mother died during the plague and his Father died sometime afterward.

Boccaccio spent some time trying to find a career.  First he worked as a Banker, then went to Law School.  He didn’t like Law either.  Eventually he found success as a writer of both prose and poetry, and also as a scholar and diplomat.  He wrote a novel about the first big love of his life called Fiammetta which is considered the first psychological novel of Western literature.  It’s written in first person from the woman’s point of view.  Boccaccio seems to have identified with women’s point of view.  He also wrote a book about 106 famous women.  Perhaps this was a subconscious way of trying to understand the absense of his own mother in his life?

Boccaccio never married himself but had many lovers with whom he had 3 children.


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