About the playwright

Posted: Thursday, November 13, 2003

Carlo Gozzi was born in Venice, Italy, in 1720 and died in 1806. He spent three years in the military after his schooling, then began studying literature.

He joined the Accademia del Granelleschi, a group steeped in Italian theater traditions, such as commedia dell'arte. By the 1740s, the movement was more than 300 years old and under attack by playwrights such as Carlos Goldoni, who sought to bring more drama and realism to the Italian stage.

Gozzi considered Goldoni's work to be mawkish and sentimental, and he veered off in the opposite direction. His bizarre stories, also known as "fiabe" or "fairy tales," were based on Italian fantasy, ancient Oriental stories, puppet theater, Spanish playwrights such as Miguel de Cervantes and his own overactive whim.

"There is little order, and hardly any subordination to rule in his 'fiabe,' which, it should be said, differ from the commedia dell' arte, whose manner they were intended to continue, in that they are often written out in full and are not merely sketchy scenarii," says Gozzi's biography at newadvent.org.

Gozzi's works were so popular that Goldoni fled to Paris.

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