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THE MEMOIRS



COUNT CARLO GOZZI



VOLUME THE FIRST



PUBLISHER'S NOTE.

Five hundred and twenty copies of this book printed for England,
and two hundred and sixty for America. Type distributed. Each
copy numbered.



THE MEMOIRS OF

COUNT CARLO GOZZI

TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH

BY

JOHN ADDINGTON SYMONDS

UlUtf) (Eggags on Italian Impromptu Comrtig, ojjt's Etfe,
2H)E Btamatic Jableg, anto $iett0 ILong^t

BY THE TRANSLATOR

WITH PORTRAIT AND SIX ORIGINAL ETCHINGS
BY ADOLPHE LALAUZE



ALSO ELEVEN SUBJECTS ILLUSTRATING ITALIAN COMEDY BY MAURICE SAND
ENGRAVED ON COPPER BY A. MANCEAU, AND COLOURED BY HAND



IN TWO VOLUMES

VOLUME THE FIRST



LONDON
JOHN C. NIMMO

14, KING WILLIAM STREET, STRAND

MDCCCXC



Annex
ft?

1703



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

VOLUME THE FIRST.



The Etchings designed and etched by AD. LALADZE. The Masks,
illustrating the Italian Commedia dell' Arte, by MAURICE SAND,
engraved by A. MANCEAU, and coloured by hand.

\

I. PORTRAIT OF CARLO Gozzi (etching) . Frontispiece

PAGE

II. THE ITALIAN COMMEDIA DELL' ARTE, OR IMPROMPTU

COMEDY . . . . . . . 25

III. COLOMBINA (1683) 4$

IV. TARTAGLIA (1620) .... . . 96

V. BRIGHELLA (1570) ....... 128

VI. IL DOTTORE (1653) ... 1 60

VII. SCARAMOUCH (1645) ... .192
VIII. THE FRANCISCAN FRIAR ON THE GALLEY (etchiny) . 216
IX. IL CAPITANO (1668) 256



18515P9



PREFACE.



AFTER the appearance of my work on Benvenuto
Cellini, Mr. J. C. Nimmo proposed that I should
undertake a translation of Count Carlo Gozzi's
Memorie Inutili.

The suggestion that such a book might be of
interest to the English public emanated originally,
I believe, from Mr. E. Hutchings of Manchester, in
a letter addressed to the Academy. 1

To this gentleman my warmest thanks are due,
not only for starting the idea, which I have
carried out, but also for the interest he has
shown in my work during its progress, and for the
assistance he has liberally rendered by the loan of
rare books.

I entertained the proposal with some doubt. What



1 Under date August 31, 1885, with the assumed signature of E. H.
Westbourne. See Academy, No. 696, Sept 5, 1885.

VOL. I. 6



vi PREFACE.

I already knew about Carlo Gozzi amounted to
li'ttle ; and it seemed to me improbable that the world
would willingly have left his Memoirs in oblivion
if they possessed solid qualities.

At the same time, the little that I did know of
Gozzi roused my curiosity. The picturesque aspects
of Venetian decadence allured my fancy. I foresaw
that I should have to handle the attractive subject of
Italian impromptu comedy. Finally, it so happens
that autobiographies have always exerted a pecu-
liar fascination for my mind. I rate them highly
as historical and psychological documents. The
smallest fragment of a genuine autobiography seems
to me valuable for the student of past epochs.

I had strong inducements, therefore, to undertake
the proposed task.

The first thing to do was to procure a copy of
the Memoirs, which exist only in one edition of
three volumes. Mr. Hutchings placed the first two
volumes of the book at my disposal ; but the third
was missing. It had been purloined while its
owner was stationed in one of the South American
cities. Mr. Nimmo and I waited through four
months, making continued applications to the best
European dealers in old books, before a complete
copy was at last disinterred from a Venetian library.



PREFACE.



vu



The extraordinary rarity of the Memorie stimu-
lated my growing interest. After making a pre-
liminary study of the text, I perceived that this was
no common specimen of self-portraiture. In some
respects it seemed to me to be a masterpiece. I
felt no doubt that it possessed both psychological
and historical value. A man of a very marked type
stood forth from those pages. He was, moreover,
the Venetian representative of a well-defined social
and literary period. This period corresponded pretty
closely with that of our own Samuel Johnson, Field-
ing, Goldsmith, Keynolds, David Hume. It was
the period which ended with the earthquake of the
French Revolution, the signs of which catastrophe
were felt more ominously in Italy than in our own
land. At the same time I recognised salient quali-
ties of healthy moral sense, of analytical acumen, of
vigorous intelligence, and of caustic humour in the
author, mingled with literary merit of no ordinary
kind, vivid transcripts from contemporary life,
dramatic narration, incisive sketches of character,
original reflections on society.

According to my own standard in such matters,
Gozzi's Memoirs ranked as an important document
for the study of Italy in the last century.

But was the book worth translating? Would it



Vlll



PREFACE.



not suffice to leave the few existing copies in their
obscurity, and to indicate their value for historians
by composing a critical treatise on the author and
his times?

My own predilection for autobiographies, and my
sense of their utility, caused me to reject this alter-
native. I decided to translate, and to illustrate my
translation by tolerably copious original essays.

While engaged upon the work, I have not, how-
ever, felt always quite at ease. It has recurred to
my mind that many readers of these volumes will
exclaim : " An English version of Gozzi's self-styled
' useless memoirs ' cannot fail to be twice as useless
as the original ! " Not all people share that par-
tiality for autobiographies which in me amounts
almost to a passion.

Besides, I had to face other difficulties. The
three chapters which contain the narratives of Gozzi's
love-adventures could not be omitted. They are too
valuable for the light they throw upon his age,
and too important in the man's estimate of his own
character. Their suppression would have been un-
fair to Gozzi, and would have shorn his Memoirs of
some brilliant bits of local colour. Nevertheless, I
knew that the frankness and the cynical humour of
these episodes are out of tune with modern taste.



PREFACE. ix

Much is pardoned by the virtue of our age to classics
to Plato or Cellini which would not be excused
in a writer of inferior eminence. But Gozzi is no
classic. The fact of his neglect by his own nation
proves that overwhelmingly. Why drag him from
deserved oblivion if these love-stories are indis-
pensable to the rehabilitating process ?

My answer to this perplexing query was that the
debated passages are good in literature, true to
nature, sound in moral feeling. Their candour is
the candour of a cleanly heart, resolved to bare its
secret by an effort of self-portraiture. Gozzi de-
scribes passions common to that age, and ours, and
every age ; but he also shows how a determined
character, upright and honourable, can free itself
from the entanglements of natural frailty. The
lesson may be somewhat harsh, but it is salutary.
Gozzi has written no single word unworthy of a man
of principle nothing which is calculated to make
vice alluring. Only one

" Who winks, and shuts his apprehension up
From common sense of what men were and are,
Who would not know what men must be :"

only such an one can take exception to the narratives
of Gozzi's love-adventures.



x PREFACE.

Reasoning thus, I determined to include the love-
tales in my translation, having already decided that
no translation could be given to the world without
them, and that the book was worthy of resuscitation.
But I felt myself justified in removing those passages
and phrases which might have caused offence to some
of my readers.

To translate Gozzi with the minute attention to
his style which I bestowed upon Cellini would have
been unpractical. I should even have inflicted an
injury upon my author. It is in many respects an
annoying style ; redundant, unequal, diffuse ; bearing
the stamp of garrulous senility and imperfect (though
copious) command of language.

To condense and manipulate the Memoirs at my
own free will, following the plan of Paul de Musset's
abridgement, seemed to me unscrupulous, even if I
abstained from that amusing writer's deliberate mysti-
fications.

I resolved to convert the larger portion of the book
into equivalent English, allowing myself the license
of curtailing certain passages, and rearranging the
order of some chapters. All cases of important con-
densation or omission have been indicated in my
notes. My account of the Memoirs and the causes
which led to their publication (Introduction, Part i.)



PREFACE. xi

sufficiently explains my right to transpose material
from one place to another. Readers of the Intro-
duction will perceive how carelessly and accidentally,
to serve occasion, the original and unique edition
was put together. It is due in part, I think, to
Gozzi's indifference and haste of compilation that so
curious a specimen of autobiography fell into almost
absolute oblivion.

We have only one edition of the Memorie, that
of Palese, under the date Venezia, 1797. Therefore
nothing need be said upon the topic of bibliography.
I may, however, mention that the few copies of this
rare book which have fallen under my inspection
present some features of difference, indicating the
random way in which the sheets were made up for
publication.

Among English critics of distinction, one only, so
far as I am aware, has mentioned Gozzi's Memoirs.
That is Vernon Lee, in her Studies of the Eighteenth
Century in Italy. But Vernon Lee knew the book
only through Paul de Musset's "perversion." Ac-
cordingly, what she has to say about the man is
less valuable than the vivid, if not always accurate,
account she gives of his Fiabe.

The volumes I am now presenting to the public
claim at least one merit that of dealing with a



xii PREFACE.

hitherto almost untouched document of historical and
literary importance.

I flatter myself that readers will be found to ap-
preciate the brilliant, though prolix and desultory,
portraiture of life in Venice during the last century
which these " useless memoirs " offer to their imasri-

o

nation.

Finally, I wish here to record my mature opinion
about Carlo Gozzi's character for veracity and general
uprightness. I think that I have been hardly just,
and certainly not generous, to Gozzi in the Intro-
duction and the notes appended to my version.
Wishing to avoid the lues biographica, I assumed a
somewhat too purely critical attitude while writing.
Careful perusal of the proofs makes me feel that the
truth would not have suffered had I entirely sup-
pressed some suspicions and concealed some per-
sonal want of sympathy with the man. Allowing
for his peculiar and occasionally repellent character
the character of an " original " and a confirmed
old bachelor Gozzi seems to me now to have
been as honest and open-hearted as a gentleman

should be.

JOHN ADDINGTON SYMONDS.



AM HOF, DAVOS PLATZ,
March 25, 1889.



BOOKS USED AND REFERRED TO IN
THIS WORK.



1. CARLO Gozzi. " Hemorie Inutili." 3 vols. Venice. 1797.

2. CARLO GOZZL " Opere." 10 vols. Venice. Colombani and other

publishers. 1772-1791.

3. ERXI.STO MA si. "Le Fiabe di Carlo Gozzi." 2 vols. Bologna.

Zanichelli. 1885.

4. PIER ANTONIO GRATAROL. "Narrazione Apologetica." 2 vols.

Venezia. Gatti. 1797.

5. PAUL DE MUSSET. " Memoires de Charles Gozzi." Paris. Char-

pen tier. 1848.

6. Giov. BATT. MAGRINI. " Carlo Gozzi e le Fiabe." Cremona. Fera-

boli. 1876. The same work, second edition : " I Tempi la Vita
e gli Scritti di Carlo Gozzi." Benevento. De Gennaro. 1883.

7. MICHELE SCHERILLO. "La Commedia dell' Arte in Italia."

Torino. Loescher. 1884.

8. ADOLFO BARTOLI. " Scenari Inediti della Commedia dell' Arte."

Firenze. Sansone. 1880.

9. ALFONSE ROYER. "Carlo Gozzi, Theatre Fiabesque." Paris.

Michel Levy. 1865.

10. CARLO GOLDONI. "Memoires." 3 vols. Paris. Veuve Duchesne.

1787.

11. FERDINANDO GALANTI. "Carlo Goldoni e Venezia nel Secolo

xviii." Padova. Samin. 1882.

12. P. G. MOLMENTI. " Carlo Goldoni." Venezia. Ongania. 1880.

13. VERNON LEE. "Studies of the Eighteenth Century in Italy."

London. Satchell. 1880.



xiv BOOKS REFERRED TO IN THIS WORK.

14. MAURICE SAND. " Masques et Bouffons." 2 vols. Paris. A. Levy

1862.

1 5. S. ROMANIN. " Storia Documentata di Venezia." Vols. vii.-ix.

Venezia. Naratovitch. 1860.

1 6. GIUSEPPE BOERIO. " Dizionario del Dialetto Veneziano." Venezia.

CocchinL 1856.

17. PHILARETE CHASLES. " Etudes sur 1'Espagne, etc." (" D'un Theatre

Espagnol-Venitien au xviii me - Siecle et de Charles Gozzi").
Paris. Amyot. 1847.

1 8. N. TOMMASEO. "Storia Civile nella Letteraria." Koraa, Torino,

Firenze. E. Loescher. 1872.

19. EUGENIC CAMERINI. " I Precursori del Goldoni." Milano. Son-

zogno. 1872.

20. " Memoires de Jacques Casanova de Seingalt, ecrites par lui-me'me.

Bruxelles. Rozet. 1 876.



THE MEMOIRS



COUNT CARLO GOZZI



INTRODUCTION



INTRODUCTION,
part E.

CARLO GOZZI AND PIERO ANTONIO GRATAROL.

i. The ancestry and social standing of Count Carlo Gozzi His collision
with Piero Antonio Gratarol, Secretary to the Venetian Collegia
How this quarrel led to the composition of Gozzi's Memoirs Their
importance as a document for the social history of Venice in the
eighteenth century. 2. The interweaving of this episode in Gozzi's
Life with his literary warfare against Goldoni, which culminated in
the production of his ten dramatic fables. 3. Sketch of GrataroPs
life, and his relation to Andrea and Caterina Tron Gozzi's liaison
with the actress Teodora Ricci Gozzi's comedy, Le Droghe d'Amore
Turned by Mme. Tron into a satire upon Gratarol Gratarol flies
from Venice to Stockholm, is proscribed by the Republic, and loses
all his fortune His Narrazione Apologetica Gozzi takes up the
pen in self-defence The Inquisitors of State forbid the publication
of his autobiographical polemic GrataroPs death in Madagascar
Circumstances which induced Gozzi in 1797, after the fall of the
Republic of St. Mark, to complete and publish his Memoirs. 4.
Gozzi's literary style and personal character The false conception
of the man and his work which has been diffused by Paul de
Musset.

I.

IN the year 1797 there appeared at Venice a book
entitled Memorie inutili della vita di Carlo Gozzi,
scritte da lui medesimo e pubblicate per umilta,
" Useless Memoirs of the Life of Carlo Gozzi, written
by himself and published from motives of humility."
Its author, though he bore the title of Count, and
VOL. i. A



2 MEMOIRS OF COUNT CARLO GOZZI.

belonged to an honourable family in Venice, was not
of patrician descent. That is to say, none of his
lineal ancestors had acquired the right of voting in
the Grand Council or of holding the highest offices
of state. They ranked with the citizens of the
Republic, who took no direct part in the government,
but who were permitted to discharge important func-
tions as secretaries of several departments and as
ambassadors of the second class. By his mother he
drew half of his blood from one of the oldest and
proudest of Venetian noble families, the Tiepolos.
Thus, socially, if not politically, birth placed him
almost on a level with the best Venetian aristocracy.
In the year 1797 he was seventy-seven; and
although he had been a man of some mark in his
early days, the public had lost sight of him for the
last seventeen years. His reputation depended upon
a large number of dramatic pieces, satirical poems,
and prose compositions, mostly of a controversial
kind. Two main episodes in his literary life con-
ferred a slightly dubious notoriety upon his name.
The first of these was the long and bitter war he
waged against the two playwrights, Chiari and Gol-
doni, between the years 1756 and 1762. The other
was an unfortunate series of events which brought
him into collision with a certain Pier Antonio Gra-
tarol in 1777. Gratarol, like his adversary, was a
Venetian citizen, allied by descent to the great patri-
cian family of Contarini. Unlike Gozzi, he early



INTRODUCTION : PART I. 3

embarked on a political career, was one of the secre-
taries of the Collegio, and looked forward to the
highest appointments which were open to a man of
his rank. The collision with Count Gozzi, which I
shall have to describe with some minuteness, ended
in Gratarol's voluntary exile from Venice, the con-
fiscation of his property by the State, and a public
scandal of sufficient importance to attract the atten-
tion of serious historians. 1 Had it not been for this
tragi-comic episode in his past life, Gozzi would never
have written his Memoirs ; and had the memory of
the scandal not been revived some years after Grata-
rol's death, when the old Republic of S. Mark had
fallen in the crash of the French Revolution, he would
never have published them.

This autobiography is distinctly .an apologetical
work, a portrait drawn by Gozzi in self-defence, and
intended to vindicate himself from the aspersions
cast by Gratarol upon his character. Its main object
is to set forth in the fairest light his own conduct
during the unlucky collision to which I have alluded.
Yet though so limited in aim, the interest which
it possesses for us at the present time, is far wider
than belongs to that unhappy squabble, long since
buried in oblivion. Gozzi's conception of an Apo-
logia pro vita sua was a comprehensive one. He
resolved to reveal his character under all its aspects,

1 See Romanin, Storia Documentata di Venezia, vol. viii. cb. 7.



4 MEMOIRS OF COUNT CARLO GOZZI.

from his childhood until the date 17/7, dealing now
with matters of general importance, now with the
private affairs of his home, touching upon the litera-
ture of his age, discussing fashions, criticising philo-
sophy, entering into minute particulars regarding
theatres and actors, describing his love-affairs with
a frankness worthy of Rousseau, and painting a series
of lively portraits in which a large variety of indivi-
duals from all classes are presented to our notice.
The result is that his autobiography, although in the
strictest sense of that term an occasional production,
forms one of the most valuable documents we possess
for a study of Venetian society during the decadence
of the Republic. Gozzi was gifted with a penetra-
tive and observant mind, strong sense of humour, and
a power of brilliant description. On the faults of
his style and the defects of his character, I shall speak
hereafter. At present it is enough to indicate the
importance of the Memoirs as furnishing a vivid
picture of Venetian life in the eighteenth century.
Venice, at that period, was fortunate in autobio-
graphers. She possessed Goldoni and Casanova as
well as Gozzi, not to mention smaller folk like Da
Ponte, the poet of Mozart's Don Giovanni. But
when we compare the three life-records of Goldoni,
Casanova, and Gozzi, by far the deepest historical
interest, in my opinion, belongs to the last. Casa-
nova's Memoirs are almost excluded from general
use by the nature of their predominant pre-occupa-



INTRODUCTION: PART I. 5

tion. Moreover, they deal but partially with Venice,
and only with limited aspects of its social life.
Goldoni's, though more humane, and in all that con-
cerns tone impeccable, turn too exclusively upon
the history of his dramatic works to be of great
importance as an historical document. Moreover,
the scene is laid in several provinces of Italy and
transferred before its close to France. Gozzi, on
the contrary, never quits the soil of Venice. Except
when he served as a soldier for three years in the
Venetian province of Dalmatia, he does not appear to
have travelled further than to Pordenone on one side
and to Padua on the other. Of strong aristocratic
instincts, but condemned to comparative poverty by
the reckless expenditure of his parents and grand-
parents, Gozzi enjoyed opportunities of studying the
society of Venice from several points of view. His
enthusiasm for literature and partiality for profes-
sional actors brought him acquainted with the scholars
and the Bohemians of that epoch. His management
of the encumbered estates of his family introduced him
to advocates, solicitors, brokers, Jews, tenants, and
all manner of strange people. His birth made him
the companion of patricians. His military service
involved him in the wild pleasures and perils of
scapegrace lads upon a foreign soil. Consequently,
the records of a life so varied in experience, while
strictly confined within the narrow circuit of Venetian
society, could not fail to be rich in details for the



6 MEMOIRS OF COUNT CARLO GOZZI.

student. It may be regretted that Gozzi chose to
write in a didactic spirit. We could willingly have
exchanged his long-winded excursions into the sphere
of moral philosophy for a few more graphic sketches
in the style of his Dalmatian adventures.



II.

This biographical and historical interest, far more
than Gozzi's quarrel with Goldoni or his collision
with Gratarol, is the reason why I thought it worth
while to translate a book which has become exces-
sively rare in the original. Nothing can be duller
or more contemptible, to my mind, than the chronicle
of literary quarrels. The Goldoni-Gozzi episode
would be devoid of permanent attraction were it
not for the curious light thrown by it upon the
obscure subject of impromptu comedy, and for the
ten extraordinary Fiabe Teatrali from Gozzi's pen
to which it gave rise. Again, the Gratarol- Gozzi
episode, as we shall presently see, is almost humi-
liating in the pettiness of its details, and painful
through its tragic termination.

The Memoirs contain a full and tolerably accurate
account of the Gratarol incident. Yet I cannot dis-
pense with a summary of this affair, based upon a
comparison of Gozzi's story with that of Gratarol in
his Narrazione Apologetica. The extreme import-



INTRODUCTION: PART I. 7

ance of the event in the lives of both men, and
the fact that it constitutes the subject of Gozzi's
autobiography in quite as serious a sense as that
in which the Persian war forms the subject of
Herodotus' history, render this unavoidable.



III.

Pier Antonio Gratarol was a young man between
thirty and forty in the year 1776. He had grown
up with an ample fortune and without a father's
control ; had imbibed French ways of thinking and
French customs ; had married, and after marriage
had separated from his wife. 1 He represented that
class of intellectual and political Liberals whom
Gozzi, with his Conservative prejudices, regarded as
dangerous to the well-being of the State. He was
an open libertine in his relations with women, and

1 Gratarol was not formally divorced from his wife. This appears
from several passages of his Narrazione Apologetica, It may, however,
be here observed that scandalous irregularities with regard to matrimony
formed one of the main signs of Venetian decadence. Between 1782
and 1796 the Council of Ten received no fewer than 264 petitions for
divorce, and the Patriarch is said to have had 900 applications at one
time before him, requiring his decision in matters relating to a dis-
solution of the marriage tie. See Magrini, op. cit., p. 23 ; and Macchi,
iStoria del Concilia dei Died, vol. ii. p. 355. It seems that the most
shameless reasons were collusively alleged by the parties in these cases
for breaking a tie which the Church regarded as indissoluble. In
1782 the Ten passed a law requiring a divorced woman to enter a
convent.



8 MEMOIRS OF COUNT CARLO GOZZI.

did not strive to conceal those principles of personal
liberty which the philosophes were spreading through-
out Europe. At the same time he represented a
family which had served the Republic in distin-
guished offices for many generations ; he possessed
excellent abilities, and had every reason to expect
a brilliant future. There was nothing in his con-
duct or in his domestic circumstances to distinguish
him unfavourably from a multitude of gay livers and
free-thinkers in the corrupt Venice of that epoch.
He had recently become eligible for the post of
ambassador at a foreign Court; and was already
nominated as Resident in Naples. This nomination
required, however, to be confirmed by the Grand
Council ; and circumstances, which need not be
enlarged upon, rendered the grant of money for his
embassy a matter of debate. 1 Unfortunately, Grata-


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