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Luigi Pirandello


Pirandello is best known outside Italy for his plays, particularly Sei personaggi in cerca d’autore (Six Characters in Search of an Author), but he also wrote poetry, short stories (novelle), essays and novels. He was born in Girgenti (Agrigento) in Sicily in 1867. His father had fought with Garibaldi, as had his mother’s brothers. Pirandello wrote his first play at the age of twelve, performing it with his sisters and some friends. He studied literature in Palermo and then went to the University of Rome, where he wrote a few plays. His first published work was a collection of poetry, entitled Mal giocondo. From Rome he went to Bonn, where he wrote more poetry.

After returning to Rome, he married Maria Antonietta Portulano and they had three children. He published his first collection of short stories and then published the first of his novels. His finances took a turn for the worse, when the sulphur mine, in which his father had invested his own assets as well as Pirandello’s wife’s dowry, was suddenly flooded. His wife had the first of her serious illnesses as a result. However, the literary result is Il fu Mattia Pascal (The Late Mattia Pascal), his most famous novel.

He started to have theatrical success and from this time on, produced a large amount of high quality writing, which brought him considerable critical success, resulting in the awarding of the Nobel Prize in 1934. He even wrote a screenplay and opera libretto. However, his wife suffered further breakdowns and was confined to a clinic for the rest of her life, long surviving her husband who died in 1936.

Pirandello will be remembered as one of the earlier modernists – Sei personaggi in cerca d’autore (Six Characters in Search of an Author) dates back to 1921, while Il fu Mattia Pascal (The Late Mattia Pascal) dates back to 1904. The themes of alienation, madness and multiple personalities are to be found in his work from early on and he was an influence on many major European writers.

Books about Pirandello

Gaspare Giudice: Pirandello – a Biography (English translation)
Renate Matthaei: Luigi Pirandello (English translation)
Olga Ragusa: Luigi Pirandello
(Giudice and Ragusa are the standard though not very good biographies)

Other links

Luigi Pirandello
Luigi Pirandello
Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936)
Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936)
Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936)
Luigi Pirandello (in Italian)
Luigi Pirandello (in Italian)
Luigi Pirandello (in Italian)
Luigi Pirandello (in Italian)
Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936) (in Italian)
Istituto di Studi Pirandelliani (in Italian)
Centro Nazionale Studi Pirandelliani Agrigento (in Italian)


(the second date given for plays is the date of first performance)
1889 Mal giocondo (poetry)
1891 Pasqua di Gea (poetry)
1894 Amori senza amore (Loveless Love) (stories)
1894 Pier Gudrò (poetry)
1895 Elegie renane (poetry)
1898 (1910) La morsa (drama)
1901 L’esclusa (The Outcast) (novel)
1901 Zampogna (poetry)
1902 Beffe della morte e della vita (stories)
1902 Quand’ero matto (stories)
1902 Il turno (The Merry-Go-Round of Love; The Turn) (novel)
1904 Bianche e nere (stories)
1904 Il fu Mattia Pascal (The Late Mattia Pascal) (novel)
1906 Ermes bifronte (stories)
1908 Arte e scienza (essays)
1908 L’umorismo (On humor) (essays)
1909 Scamandro (poetry)
1909 I vecchi e i giovani (The Old and the Young) (novel)
1911 (1910) Lumìe di Sicilia (Limes from Sicily) (drama)
1911 La vita nuda (stories)
1911 Suo marito (Her Husband) (novel)
1912 Fuori di chiave (poetry)
1912 (1913) Il dovere del medico (drama)
1912 Terzetti (stories)
1913 (1920) Cecè (drama)
1914 Le due maschere (stories)
1915 Si gira (Shoot!) (novel)
1915 La trappola (stories)
1916 (1915) Se non così (drama)
1917 E domani, lunedì (stories)
1917 (1916) Liolà (drama)
1917 (1916) Pensaci, Giacomino!
1918 (1917) Così è (se vi pare) (Right You Are (If You Think So); Absolutely – Perhaps) (drama)
1918 (1917) Il berretto a sonagli (Cap and Bells) (drama)
1918 (1917) Il piacere dell’onestà (drama)
1918 (1919) La patente (drama)
1918 Un cavallo nella luna (Horse in the Moon) (stories)
1919 Berecche e la guerra (Berecche and the War) (stories)
1919 (1918) Il gioco delle parti (The Rules of the Game) (drama)
1919 (1918) Ma non è una cosa seria (drama)
1919 Il carnevale dei morti (stories)
1919 (1919) L’uomo, la bestia e la virtù (Man, Beast and Virtue) (drama)
1920 (1920) Tutto per bene (drama)
1921 (1919) L’innesto (drama)
1921 (1920) Come prima, meglio di prima (drama)
1921 (1921) Sei personaggi in cerca d’autore (Six Characters in Search of an Author) (drama)
1922 (1920) La signora Morli, una e due (drama)
1922 (1922) Enrico IV (Henry IV) (drama)
1922 Lo scialle nero (stories)
1922 La vita nuda (The Naked Truth) (stories)
1922 La rallegrata (stories)
1922 L’uomo solo (stories)
1923 La mosca (stories)
1923 In silenzio (stories)
1923 (1922) Vestire gli ignudi (To Clothe The Naked; Naked) (drama)
1924 (1924) Ciascuno a suo modo (Each In His Own Way) (drama)
1924 (1923) La vita che ti diedi (The Life I Gave You) (drama)
1924 (1925) Sagra del Signore della Nave (drama)
1924 Tutt’e tre (stories)
1925 Dal naso al cielo (stories)
1925 Donna Mimma (stories)
1925 (1917) La giara (drama)
1925 Uno, nessuno e centomila (One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand) (novel)
1925 (1923) L’altro figlio (drama)
1926 Il vecchio dio (stories)
1926 (1922) All’uscita (The Way Out) (drama)
1926 (1922) L’imbecille (drama)
1926 (1923) L’uomo dal fiore in bócca (The Man with the Flower in His Mouth) (drama)
1927 (1927) Amica della moglie (The Wives’ Friend) (drama)
1927 (1927) Diana e la Tuda (drama)
1928 La giara (The Oil Jar) (stories)
1928 Il viaggio (stories)
1928 Candelora (stories)
1928 (1927) Bellavita (drama)
1928 (1928) La nuova colonia (drama)
1929 (1929) Lazzaro (drama)
1929 (1929) O di uno o di nessuno (drama)
1929 (1931) Sogno (ma forse no) (drama)
1930 (1930) Come tu mi vuoi (As You Desire Me) (drama)
1930 (1930) Questa sera si recita a soggetto (Tonight We Improvise) (drama)
1931 (1937) I giganti della montagna (The Mountain Giants; Giants of the Mountain) (drama)
1932 (1932) Trovarsi (To find oneself) (drama)
1933 (1933) Quando si è qualcuno (When One Is Somebody) (drama)
1933 (1934) La favola del figlio cambiato (drama)
1935 (1934) Non si sa come (drama)
1937 Una giornata (stories)
1938 Pari (Incomplete)
1959 Short stories
1970 One-act Plays
1972 Novelle per un anno: An Anthology (stories)
1984 Tales of Madness (stories)
1987 Collected Plays
1988 Tales of Suicide (stories)
1991 Pirandello’s Major Plays
2008 Nel tempo della lontananza: (1919-1936) (letters)