Carlo Goldoni

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Goldoni, Carlo


Born Feb. 25, 1707, in Venice: died Feb. 6, 1793. in Paris. Italian dramatist, reformer of the Italian theater, and father of Italian comedy.

Goldoni was the son of a doctor. The essence of Goldoni’s reform consisted in replacing the improvisational commedia dell’arte. or comedy of masks, with plays that had a set text and realistic human characters and that were permeated with the ideas of the Enlightenment and witty criticism of the vices of feudal society. The basic theoretical principles of the Enlightenment reform of the Italian theater were expounded by Goldoni in his comedy-manifesto The Comic Theater (1750). in the foreword to the first edition of his comedies (1750). and in his Memoirs. Goldoni’s reform was fully realized in the comedies he wrote between 1748 and 1753, including The Clever Widow. The Coffeehouse, The Liar. Women’s Gossip, A Servant of Two Masters, and The Tavern Maid.

Goldoni’s dramaturgy established the didactic comedy of character types based on the portrayal of everyday family life. Nevertheless, while revealing the decay of the whole feudal system through examples of the moral degradation of the Italian aristocracy (The Cavalier and the Lady, The Flatterer) and depicting the class contradictions between the nobility and the rising bourgeoisie, Goldoni did not restrict himself narrowly to family problems. The common people gradually became the main positive hero in his plays. In his comedies The Honest Girl (1749) and The Good Wife (1749). Goldoni still endowed his heroines from among the people with bourgeois virtues, but in the comedy Women’s Gossip (1751), the collective image of the Venetian common people crowded out the bourgeois moralist Pantalone. Goldoni preserved the best achievement of the commedia dell’arte— cheerfulness and dynamic plot development. In the mid-1750’s, Goldoni wrote several verse comedies in the Venetian dialect, in which the characters were mainly common people, including The Cooks (1755). The Housekeepers (1755), The Crossing (1756). and Merry Women (1758). In these comedies reality was criticized from the people’s point of view and by the people themselves. The depth of Goldoni’s enlightened realism was most vividly revealed in the prose comedies written in the Venetian dialect. Petty Tyrants (1760) and Signore Todero (1762). where the satire took on a clearly antibourgeois character. In Chiozzotte Skirmishes (1762). Goldoni brought to the stage simple Venetian fishermen and their wives. This was comedy with the popular masses as hero, truly innovative for the 18th century. Goldoni spent the last period of his creative work in France. His comedy The Grumbling Benefactor (1771, written in French) brought him European fame. The Memoirs of Carlo Goldoni were written in France from 1784 to 1787. Goldoni wrote 267 plays in all.

Goldoni’s reform was supported by most writers of the Enlightenment, both in Italy (P. Verri, G. Gozzi) and abroad (Voltaire, G. E. Lessing, and J. W. von Goethe), but came under fierce attack from the opponents of Enlightenment ideas, whose spokesman was C. Gozzi. Goldoni enormously influenced the development of Italian national drama. F. De-Sanctis called him “the Galileo of the new literature.”

Russian readers and theatergoers became acquainted with Goldoni in the 18th century, when A Servant of Two Masters (1789). A True Friend (1794), The Liar (1796), and other plays were translated into Russian and staged. In 1827 the first Russian translation of The Tavern Maid appeared, by A. A. Shakhovskoi. The Coffeehouse was translated by A. N. Os-trovskii in 1872. In the Soviet period Goldoni has been translated by M. L. Lozinskii, A. K. Dzhivelegov, T. L. Shchepkina-Kupernik. S. S. Mokul’skii, and others. Many of Goldoni’s plays are being successfully performed on the modern stage.


Opere complete, vols. 1–40. City of Venice edition. Edited by C. Musatti, E. Maddalena, and G. Ortolani. Venice, 1907–57.
Tulle le opere, vols. 1–14. Edited by G. Ortolani. Milan. 1935–56.
In Russian translation:
Komedii. vols. 1–2. Edited by A. L. Volynskii. Foreword and notes by A. V. Amfiteatrov. Petrograd, 1922.
Komedii, vols. 1–2. Edited with an introduction by A. K. Dzhivelegov. Moscow-Leningrad, 1933–36.
Komedii. Moscow, 1949.
Komedii. vols 1–2. Edited by A. A. Smirnov. Introduction by B. G. Reizov. Leningrad-Moscow, 1959.
Memuary Karlo Gol’doni, soderzhashchie istoriiu ego zhizni i ego teatra, vols 1–2. Translation, introduction, and notes by S. S. Mokul’skii. Leningrad, 1933.


Friche, V. M. “’K. Gol’doni (Obshchestvennoe soderzhanie egokomedii).” Golos minuvshego, 1913, no. 4.
Mokul’skii, S. S. Istoriia zapadno-evropeiskogo teatra, vol. 2. Moscow-Leningrad. 1939.
Mokul’skii. S. S. “Gol’doni.” In Ital’ianskaia literatura: Vozrozhdenie i Prosveshchenie. Moscow, 1966.
Reizov. B. G. K. Gol’doni. ¡707–1793. Leningrad-Moscow. 1957.
Ortolani, G. Delia vita e delle opere di C. Goldoni. Venice. 1907.
Chatfield-Taylor. H. C. Goldoni. Bari, 1927.
Barratto, M. “Mondo” e “Teatro” nella poética del Goldoni. Venice. 1957.
Dazzi. M. C. Goldoni e la sua poetica sociale. Turin, 1957.
Petronio, G. Goldoni. Palermo, 1958.
Caccia, F. Carattere e caratteri nella commedia del Goldoni. Venice-Rome [1959].
Momigliano. A. Saggi goldoniani. Venice-Rome [1959].
Studi goldoniani, vols. 1–2. Edited by V. Branca and N. Mangini. Venice-Rome [1966].
Spinelli. A. G. Bibliografia goldoniana. Milan, 1884.
Magini. N. Bibliografía goldoniana. Venice-Rome, 1961.
Cordié, C. “Rassegna goldoniana.” Paideia. 1965. no. I.


References in periodicals archive ?
Carlo Goldoni (1707-93) was Italy's most influential eighteenth-century playwright.
Giovanni Ricci presents the first Italian translation of Avare fastueux by Carlo Goldoni.
Naive continues its landmark series of Vivaldi operas with this dramatic new recording of Griselda (Venice, 1735), an opera based on a libretto by Apostolo Zeno but shortened and adapted for Vivaldi by the Venetian dramatist, Carlo Goldoni.
Per contro, non sono inclusi testi del De Rossi ne in Carlo Goldoni, Opere, con appendice del teatro comico nel Settecento, a cura di Filippo Zampieri (Milano: Ricciardi, 1964) ne in Il teatro italiano 6, La commedia del Settecento, a cura di Roberta Turchi (Torino: Einaudi, 1988) voll.
Travelling troupes had been presenting Commedia Dell Arte for over two hundred years before Carlo Goldoni transcribed the improvised lines of the Commedia actors in 1748 and created A Servant of Two Masters.
by Carlo Goldoni (adapted by Lee Hall) People's Theatre, Newcastle, until Saturday
This monographic issue is dedicated to Carlo Goldoni.
The Canadian premiere of Baldassare Galuppi's Il Filosofo di Campagna (The Garden) to a text by Carlo Goldoni took place at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre on 30 September (seen October 4), produced by Vancouver's Modern Baroque Opera.
In the carnival of 1753 Carlo Goldoni took his leave from the public and the company at the Teatro Sant'Angelo with a comedy, Le donne curiose, which, as the playwright confessed a third of a century later in his Memoires: "les Etrangers en reconnurent le fond sur-le-champ et les Venitiens disaient que si Goldoni avoit devine le secret des Francs-Macons, on auroit tort en Italie d'en defender les assemblees.
University of Toronto, 1995]) provides a close socio-contextual reading of three works on librettos by the mid-eighteenlh-century Venetian social satirist Carlo Goldoni.
Merita poi particolare attenzione il discorso sugli italiani che hanno passato lunghi periodi della loro vita in paesi stranieri, come Enea Silvio Piccolomini in Germania (156-58), Carlo Goldoni in Francia (515-18), Baretti, Foscolo, Ruffini in Inghilterra e Scozia (529-38, 683-88, 688-89), Lorenzo Da Ponte in Austria e negli Stati Uniti (548-50).
The Venetian Twins is by Carlo Goldoni, was the play on which Haydn based his opera The Alchemist, launched the new opera house at Esterhaza in 1768.