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date: 29 September 2020

Gozzi, Carlo locked

  • Barbara Reynolds

Extract

(b Venice, Dec 13, 1720; d Venice, April 14, 1806). Italian playwright . Born of a noble family of declining fortune, he was the leading member of the Accademia dei Granelleschi, a learned society devoted to stemming innovation and foreign importations in linguistic usage. He also set himself up against the changes that Goldoni was introducing into Venetian comedy.

Goldoni broke with the age-old Venetian tradition of the commedia dell’arte. In his plays stock characters disappeared, masks were no longer worn, and a bourgeois naturalism replaced stereotyped conventions. Though immensely successful, the plays attracted criticism and envy. One of his rivals was Pietro Chiari, a prolific novelist and playwright, who introduced sentimental and extravagant inanities into his comedies. Gozzi despised them both and, in answer to Goldoni’s claim that he drew large audiences, declared that he could do the same with any nonsensical tale ‘such as grandmothers tell little children’. To prove his point Gozzi sketched a scenario for the first of his ...

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