CARLO GOLDONI – Trilogia della villeggiatura
Trilogia della villeggiatura
The three plays that make up The Holiday Trilogy are among the most outstanding works of Goldoni’s maturity. Written in 1761, and published here for the first time in English, these plays take us behind the scenes as two Northern Italian families and their respective entourages prepare for a fashionable stay in the country, and in the process forsake all their cherished precepts of bourgeois prudence and parsimony. What starts out as a relatively straightforward satire, rather benevolently castigating the middle class for its craven infatuation with appearances, later develops into a scathing indictment of its entire system of values, with each of the three plays contributing an ever bleaker portrayal of social fatuity and mendacity. At the mercy of fashion’s every whim, the middle class is mercilessly caught in the act of aping the aristocracy, clumsily grappling with trends it cannot comprehend, ignorant as it is of the underlying codes of savoir-faire. But Goldoni takes comedy’s traditional decision of the bourgeoisie’s fashion foibles to an extreme which can only be ascribed to sheer comical genius. Indeed, as this tripartite work unfolds, the extent to which Goldoni succeeds in subverting the very constrictions of his favorite genre becomes increasingly evident, the bittersweet finale constituting a fittingly ambivalent rendition of comedy’s requisite happy end. The Holiday Trilogy is the first of a series of volumes that Marsilio plans to devote to the works of the great Venetian playwright, under the editorship of Franco Fido, to commemorate the bicentennial of Goldoni’s death. Anthony Oldcorn’s version of the Trilogy received one of the 1993 Kayden Translation Awards.