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Un Curioso Accidente Ca

italian, goldoni and play

UN CURIOSO ACCIDENTE CA Curi ous Mishap)), a three-act prose comedy in Italian by Carlo Goldoni, first produced, as the author's apparently indicate, in Venice in 1755 and generally regarded as his masterpiece. Nevertheless, the prestige given both in this country and elsewhere by Eleonora Duse to the author's 'Locandiera> ((The Inn has made the latter play better known to the theatre-going public than the former. Of the plays written by Goldoni in Italian 'Un curioso accidente> is certainly one of his best and one of the gems of standard Italian comedy. The simplicity of the plot is remarkable, con sisting in the amusing misguided effort of a wealthy Dutch merchant to marry off secretly the daughter of one of his friends and, in the attempt, marrying off unwittingly his own daughter. Goldoni says in his (Part II, cap. 30) that the story of the plot is true, /that the curious mishap happened to a wealthy Dutch merchant, and was related to him by two of the merchant's Venetian agents. He goes on to add that "'the piece had an entire suc cess . . . and is still one of my favorite pieces. In another part of the (Part III, cap. 37) Goldoni relates that the play was trans

lated into French by a Frenchman in 1784 with the title 'The Dupe of Himself,' that it was played the following year and proved a com plete failure. The merit of the play lies in its extreme simplicity, in the sprightliness of the dialogue, few of the speeches containing more than three or four words or a line or two, in the amusing situations in Goldoni's best vein and in the artistic perfection of the construc tion of the comedy. Some of the scenes, for instance Act II, 8, are worthy of Moliere. For American students of Italian, the edition of the play edited with English notes by Professor Ford of Harvard University is very useful and most readily available (Boston 1899). An English translation was published by the A. C. McClure Company in 1892 in the series 'Masterpieces of Foreign This ver sion was produced by Mr. Donald- Robertson in 1907-08. 'Un curioso accidente' was performed in Italian under the auspices of the Modern Language Department of the University of Toronto in 1917.