Authors: Carlo Goldoni

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Italian playwright

Author Works


Il buon padre, pr. 1729

La cantatrice, pr. 1729

Amalasunta, pr. 1732

L’uomo di mondo, pr. 1738

La donna di garbo, pr. 1743

La vedova scaltra, pr. 1748 (The Artful Widow, 1968)

La bottega del caffé, pr. 1750 (The Coffee-house, 1925)

Pamela nubile, pr. 1750 (adaptation of Samuel Richardson’s novel Pamela)

La locandiera, pb., pr. 1753 (The Mistress of the Inn, 1912)

Il campiello, pr. 1756

La casa nova, pr. 1760 (The Superior Residence, 1968)

I rusteghi, pr. 1760 (The Boors, 1961)

Le baruffe chizzotte, pr. 1762 (The Squabbles of Chioggia, 1914)

Una delle ultime sere di carnovale, pr. 1762

Il ventaglio, pr. in French 1763, pr. in Italian 1767 (The Fan, 1892)

Le Bourru bienfaisant, pr., pb. 1771 (The Beneficent Bear, 1892)

Tutte le opera, pb. 1935-1956 (14 volumes)

Three Comedies, pb. 1961

Four Comedies, pb. 1968


Mémoires de M. Goldoni pour servir à l’histoire de sa vie, et à celle de son théâtre, 1787 (Memoirs of Goldoni Written by Himself, Forming a Complete History of His Life and Writing, 1814)


Carlo Goldoni (gohl-DOH-nee) was the son of Giulio of Modena, a physician who, after moving first to Rome and then Perugia, abandoned his son to the charge of a professor in Rimini. Goldoni soon ran away to follow a troupe of strolling players. He showed an early interest in puppets and at the age of eight wrote a play for the troupe. His favorite reading consisted of plays.{$I[AN]9810000638}{$I[A]Goldoni, Carlo}{$I[geo]ITALY;Goldoni, Carlo}{$I[tim]1707;Goldoni, Carlo}

For a time he prepared himself for the law, studying in Venice and Pavia before taking his degree in Modena. Even in his student days, however, he devoted much time to the theater; indeed, he was driven from Pavia because of a satire directed at the leading citizens. He was devoted to Molière’s belief that drama must break from the superficial and mirror human beings’ essential nature. His first professionally produced play, a tragedy titled Amalasunta, was not a success.

Goldoni’s first real success, The Artful Widow, came in 1748 after he had become the company playwright for the Teatro Sant’Angelo in Venice. Over the next twenty-five years Goldoni defined and created Italian realistic comedy; he rejected the literary tradition of verse plays as well as the tasteless vulgarity into which the commedia dell’arte had descended. In 1753 he moved to the Teatro San Luca, where he continued refining his satires of Venetian society. Even though his plays were popular with the public, Goldoni was constantly attacked by Carlo Gozzi and other supporters of the traditional theater. Weary of the fight, Goldoni accepted an invitation in 1762 to direct the Comédie Italienne in Paris. There he wrote comedies in both French and Italian, but he left the theater in 1764 in order to tutor the princesses at Versailles in Italian. He continued to write, eventually producing 212 plays and in 1787 his renowned Memoirs of Goldoni Written by Himself, Forming a Complete History of His Life and Writing. Louis XVI granted Goldoni a lifelong pension, but the French Revolution forced him to live out his last years in poverty.

BibliographyCervigni, Dino S., and Franco Fido. Goldoni 1993. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993.Chatfield-Taylor, H. C. Goldoni: A Biography. New York: Duffield, 1913.Cope, Jackson I. “Goldoni’s England and England’s Goldoni.” Modern Language Notes 110 (January, 1995).Cope, Jackson I. “Goldoni’s Secrets.” Theatre Survey 5 (November, 1990).Emery, Ted. Goldoni as Librettist: Theatrical Reform and the Drammi Giocosi per Musica. New York: Peter Lang, 1991. A look at Italian drama and theory as well as Goldoni’s libretti. Bibliography.Farrell, Joseph, ed. Carlo Goldoni and Eighteenth Century Theatre. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen, 1997. A critical look at Goldoni’s drama and at the theater of his time. Bibliography.Fido, France, and Dino S. Cervigni, eds. Goldoni 1993. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1993. A collection of essays in English, Italian, and French on Goldoni and his works. Bibliography.Kennard, J. S. Goldoni and the Venice of His Time. 1920. Reprint. New York: B. Blom, 1967.Pietropaolo, Domenico, ed. Goldoni and the Musical Theatre. New York: Legas, 1995. An examination of the works of Goldoni, particularly his libretti. Bibliography.Reidt, Heinz. Carlo Goldoni. Translated by Ursula Molinaro. New York: F. Ungar, 1974.Steele, Eugene. Carlo Goldoni: Life, Work, and Times. Ravenna, Italy: Longo Editore, 1981. A biography of Goldoni examining his literary output and life. Bibliography and index.
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