Carlo Goldoni

Carlo Goldoni (kär´lō gōldô´nē), 1707–93, Italian dramatist. He was enamored of comedy from childhood, having sketched his first comic drama at eight. He took a degree in law at Padua but thereafter devoted himself to the theater. He created a new Italian character comedy, considered artistically superior to the old commedia dell'arte. This he achieved by building on the old comedy of masks, but amplifying written parts; by judicious imitation of Molière and adaptation of classical themes; and by applying his own excellent comedic sense. Goldoni wrote more than 260 dramatic works of all sorts, including opera. Among the most notable of his 150 comedies are La locandiera (1753, tr. The Mistress of the Inn, 1856), Il ventaglio (1763, tr. The Fan, 1911), Il burbero benefico (1771, tr. The Beneficent Bear, 1849), and La buona figliuola (1756, tr. The Accomplished Maid, 1767), which was set to music by Niccolò Piccinni. Toward the end of his life he was supported in France by a royal pension that was cut off by the Revolution. He died in poverty.

See Goldoni's memoirs (1787, in French; tr. by J. Black, 1926); biography by H. C. Chatfield-Taylor (1913); study by H. Riedt (tr. 1974).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Three Comedies
Carlo Goldoni.
Oxford University Press, 1961
FREE! The Chief European Dramatists: Twenty-One Plays from the Drama of Greece, Rome, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Denmark, and Norway, from 500 B.C. to 1879 A.D
Brander Matthews.
Houghton Mifflin Company, 1916
Librarian’s tip: "The Mistress of the Inn" by Carlo Goldoni begins on p. 503
FREE! Goldoni and the Venice of His Time
Joseph Spencer Kennard.
Macmillan, 1920
Commedia Unbound
Tropea, Silvana.
American Theatre, Vol. 12, No. 3, March 1995
World Drama from Aeschylus to Anouilh
Allardyce Nicoll.
Harcourt Brace, 1950
Librarian’s tip: "Gozzi and Goldoni" begins on p. 378
A Short History of Italian Literature
Robert A. Hall Jr.
Linguistica, 1951
Librarian’s tip: "Goldoni" begins on p. 319
Multicultural Writers from Antiquity to 1945: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook
Alba Amoia; Bettina L.Knapp.
Greenwood Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: "Carlo Goldoni (1707-1793)" begins on p. 144
Dictionary of Italian Literature
Peter Bondanella; Julia Conaway Bondanella; Jody Robin Shiffman.
Greenwood Press, 1996 (Revised edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Goldoni, Carlo" begins on p. 269
The Feminist Encyclopedia of Italian Literature
Rinaldina Russell.
Greenwood Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: "Goldoni, Carlo (1707-1793)" begins on p. 135
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