From my first reading of the Corbaccio, I have thought it was an inside joke. This visceral reaction has inflected my reading both of the treatise and of the scholarly writing dedicated to it. Ideally, of course, the lines of influence should run dynamically in both directions: my opinion of the Corbaccio should be formed and informed by a careful reading of scholarship on the “umile trattato”1I have had excellent company, with Jean-Pierre Barricelli, Anthony Cassell, Per Nykrog, and Robert Hollander, to name just the first few critics to offer such a reading in print. Hollander’s title Boccaccio’s Last Fictionresonates puckishly with Cassell and Victoria Kirkham’s Boccaccio’s First Fiction, suggesting a critical project of both bookending Boccaccio’s fictional production, and overturning a certain straight-faced reading of the

Corbaccio that Hollander once shared but has since revised: my reading of the scholarship should be checked against my ongoing reading of the treatise. Instead, my immediate reaction left no room for that ideal equilibrium.