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The Memoirs of Count Carlo Gozzi; Volume the First
written by "Lalauze, Alphonse"
... practical advantage of an alliance with Chiari. At the same time he disclaimed all honours for himself, and gently ridiculed his new ally's pretensions. Chiari had defied the Granelleschi to produce a comedy. Goldoni had taken up his stand upon the popularity of his own plays. Carlo Gozzi conceived the bold idea of writing a fantastic drama upon the old lines of the Commedia dell' Arte, which should fill the theatre of his adoption and restore Sacchi's company to favour. If he succeeded, both Chiari and Goldoni would be hit with the same stone. This was the real origin of the celebrated Fiabe Teatrali. But before engaging in the attempt, Gozzi looked about for a suitable subject. Nothing, he calculated, would floor his antagonists more thoroughly than the exhibition of a dramatised nursery tale by impromptu actors. Therefore, in the spirit of a burlesque duellist, in the true spirit of Don Quixote, he composed his Amore delle Tre Melarancie. These facts about the genesis of Gozzi's Fiabe need to be insisted on, since French and German critics have distorted the truth. They regard Gozzi as a romantic playwright, gifted with innate genius for a peculiar species of dramatic art. According to this theory, the Fiabe were produced in order to manifest an ideal existing in their author's brain. Minute attention to Gozzi's Memoirs, his explanatory Essays (Opere, vols. i. and iv.), and the preface appended to each Fiaba, shows, on the contrary, that he began to write the Fiabe with the simple object of answering a certain challenge in the most humorous way he could devise. He continued them with a didactic purpose. His keen sagacity and profound knowledge of the Venetian public led him possibly to anticipate success. Yet he knew that the attempt was perilous; and he made it, without obeying preconceived principles, without yielding to any imperative instinct, but solely with the view of giving Chiari and Goldoni a sound thrashing. If it i...

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