Goldoni in Paris: La Gloire et le Malentendu

ISBN : 9780198796626

Dr. Jessica Goodman
256 Pages
153 x 234 mm
Pub date
Mar 2017
Oxford Modern Languages and Literature Monographs
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The thirty years Carlo Goldoni spent in Paris hold an ambiguous place in his career. The preface to his autobiography explicitly draws attention to France as the site of his authorial glory, but elsewhere he dismisses his work for the Parisian Comedie-Italienne as a failure, and this view has come to dominate modern readings of his French experience. This study sets out to explore this apparent contradiction. By reading Goldoni's own contemporary and subsequent accounts through the lens of his context as a dramatic author in 1760s Paris, Jessica Goodman sheds new light on both his experience and critical reactions to that experience. A key part of this contextualisation is an examination of contemporary Comedie-Italienne archives, resulting in the most comprehensive existing account of this oft-neglected theatre and its authorial relations in the period. When material and artistic conditions at the Comedie-Italienne thwarted the self-fashioning strategies Goldoni had developed in Italy, he turned his attention to other areas of French life; notably the court and the Comedie-Francaise. Yet despite relative success in this regard, his career as an eclectic homme de lettres was lost in translation to posterity. In his French Memoires, he constructed the claim of Parisian glory according to an out-dated understanding of what it meant to succeed in the French literary field, focusing predominantly on the power of Comedie-Francaise success. Ultimately, this construction was a failure: in modern France, Goldoni is remembered as a famous foreigner, not the consecrated French litterateur he believed he had become.


Comedie-Italienne timeline
Goldoni timeline
I The strange case of Carlo Goldoni
II Mapping theatrical Paris
III Being an author in eighteenth-century theatre
IV The rules of the game: authorship at the Comedie-Italienne
V Goldoni's dilemma: authorship and authority
VI Goldoni's Parisian career
VII The Memoires and their legacy
VIII The afterlife of an author
Conclusion - La gloire, malentendue

About the author: 

Jessica Goodman was educated at a state school in Cardiff, and studied French and Italian at Worcester College, Oxford. Following a Masters in the European Enlightenment, she completed her DPhil under the supervision of Alain Viala, before taking up a Junior Research Fellowship at Clare College, Cambridge. She returned to Oxford and joined St Catherine's College as Associate Professor and Tutorial Fellow in 2015. She specialises in the field of eighteenth-century literature and thought, with a particular interest in the ways in which authors create a public image of themselves, both in their lifetime and after their death.

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