Goldoni and Gozzi

Reformers with separate agendas

Authored by: Mike Griffin

The Routledge Companion to Commedia dell’Arte

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  November  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415745062
eBook ISBN: 9781315750842
Adobe ISBN: 9781317613374


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The two eighteenth-century writers, Carlo Goldoni and Carlo Gozzi, agreed on one thing during their careers: Commedia dell’Arte was in a state of decay. However, despite their shared opinions on Commedia’s condition, these two writers had conflicting philosophies concerning the methods needed to revive Italy’s national drama. Goldoni wanted to reform masked comedy, without masks and improvisation, creating a new style of Italian comic-realism, while Gozzi wanted to restore the traditions of Commedia, by merging the elements of Commedia and fairy-tale, creating his unique Fiabe. Their passionate opposing ideals on the treatment of Commedia dell’Arte drove them into “one of the most famous literary feuds in Europe, Gozzi versus Goldoni” (DiGaetani 1988: 4). Throughout this chapter, I will look at each playwright and their connection to Commedia dell’Arte, the feud created by their conflicting ideas, and the new theatrical styles that they generated. (For their works see Goldoni 1892, 1958, 1961, 1963, 1969 and 2001; Gozzi 1951, 1958, 1988 and 1989.)

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