• Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

‘The Decameron at the time of Covid’, the stories of the students during the lockdown


May 7, 2021

Imagine a ‘Decameron’ set in today’s society, during the Covid pandemic, rather than nearly 700 years ago and at the time of the plague. Imagine also that instead of the seven women and three men of Boccaccio’s work, who for ten days take refuge outside Florence to escape the disease that rages in the city, there are twenty-four twelve-year-old girls and boys, seventh grade students in a Roman school, during the lockdown in the spring of 2020. These guys, with their short stories, are the modern protagonists of ‘The Decameron at the time of Covid’, the book just released for ‘L’asino d’oro edizioni’ which follows to the didactic experiment inspired by the ‘Decameron’ and its one hundred short stories born from a forced cloister in 1348. Modern storytellers, prompted by the literature teacher Alessia Barbagli, editor of the volume, each day for six weeks chose a theme each on which to express their feelings of those difficult days together with writing. The book collects eighty of the more than 500 stories written by students in 2020, while they were confined in solitude in front of the computer in their respective homes: a daily practice from which emerges the picture of a historical era still difficult to decipher. “Biographical fragments, generational mismatches, surreal shifts and even a myth begin to appear”, Franco Lorenzoni notes in the preface, also citing ‘The Thousand and One Nights’ for this work that makes the voices of young people struggling with the pandemic, giving them the opportunity to tell about the world as their eyes were seeing it. The curator Alessia Barbagli, ‘writing is used to train and resist’ “The educational project was born the day after the news of the 2020 lockdown, we had just finished studying Boccaccio’s short stories – Alessia Barbagli tells Adnkronos – a ‘strange’ school, which would have given way to distance learning, made us think of the idea of ​​thinking about it as a group, at a time when we were confused. The activity of writing allows you to think and visualize thought ”. “In the book there are not only imaginative stories – explains Barbagli – Many testify to what the children have experienced, their daily loneliness, partly lightened by the connection with their classmates. The theme of the day put the students in communication and often the short stories they wrote were an opportunity for discussion, a way to talk and give answers: they were a more or less conscious remote dialogue “. “Writing is used to train and to resist – says the teacher – For the children it was important to visualize their thoughts and order it, something that writing forces you to do. It was important to do it together, tiring, but it marked the days, in a suspended time, without scans. Writing is an exercise that helps to scan time, visualize thoughts and make them images. Even reading – he concludes – should be done in the community, in the school, because it too, like writing, is an opportunity for discussion ”. (by Cristiano Camera)