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date: 18 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article explores William Painter's The Palace of Pleasure, the first collection of prose short stories in English, and George Pettie's spin-off from Painter, The Petite Pallace of Pettie His Pleasure . It is Boccaccio who determines the ultimate character of Painter's landmark collection. Painter introduced to English the kind of generic and stylistic flexibility that is traditionally associated with Shakespeare: the mixing of comedy and tragedy and the moving between high and low stylistic registers. The stories of The Palace of Pleasure are also more socially inclusive in the prominence they give to women. Unlike Painter, Pettie goes to considerable length to construct a narrative persona who is very much in control: knowing, mannered, smoothly. However, the feminist posturings of the Petite Pallace are fake, designed as much for the entertainment of male wits as for the satisfaction of the young women to whom they are so assiduously addressed.

Keywords: Boccaccio, English prose, The Palace of Pleasure, narrative persona

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