Eleven Short Stories: A Dual-Language Book

Front Cover
Courier Corporation, Dec 11, 2012 - Foreign Language Study - 208 pages
0 Reviews
Winner of the 1934 Nobel Prize for literature, Luigi Pirandello (1867 - 1936) is best known for such landmark plays as Six Characters in Search of an Author. One of the great literary figures of the twentieth century, he also distinguished himself in a vast outpouring of short stories, poetry, novels, and essays. The stories often provided the seeds for later novels and plays.
The 11 tales included in this collection are among his best. Presented in the original Italian with excellent new English translations on facing pages, they offer students of Italian language and literature a unique learning aid and a treasury of superb fiction by a modern master.
The stories range in time from the earliest known tale, "Little Hut," a study of rural passions written in 1884, to "Mrs. Frola and Mr. Ponza, Her Son-in-Law," a quintessential Pirandello story about the relativity of truth and the impossibility of penetrating other people's minds. Published in 1917, it formed the basis of Pirandello's first major play, Right You Are If You Think You Are. In addition to these narratives, the volume also includes "Citrons from Sicily," "With Other Eyes," "A Voice," "The Fly," "The Oil Jar," "It's Not to be Taken Seriously," "Think it Over, Giacomino!," "A Character's Tragedy," and "A Prancing Horse."
Accompanying the stories are a biographical and critical introduction to Pirandello and his work, brief introductions to each of the stories and explanatory footnotes.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2012)

Born in Sicily, Pirandello attended the universities of Palermo, Rome, and Bonn. He obtained his doctorate in philology with a thesis on the dialect of his native town, Agrigento before settling in Rome to teach and write. In 1894, he married a Sicilian girl, Antonietta Portulano, who bore him three children before she went mad and afterwards provided the inspiration for many of his stories and plays. In all, Pirandello wrote 6 novels, some 250 short stories, and about 50 plays. It was a novel, Il fu Mattia Pascal (1904), that first brought him fame. Only in 1920, when he was past 50, did he turn seriously to playwriting. His first stage success had been a comedy, Liola (1917), written in the Agrigento dialect. It took its theme, if not its mood, from the Mandragola of Machiavelli (see Vols. 3 and 4). In 1921, Pirandello presented his most famous play Six Characters in Search of an Author. Here he seeks to confuse his spectators, who are forced into a paradox of reality and illusion when six "characters" search out the actors of a theatrical troupe to play out their inexorable story. The play exemplifies the Pirandellian conflict between art, which is unchanging and constant, and life, which is a continuous succession of mutations. Pirandello deliberately destroyed the traditional boundaries between audience and spectacle, reflecting the relativity and subjectivity of human existence. The play's unconventional format, which resulted in a riot, established Pirandello as Europe's leading avant-garde dramatist. The main body of Pirandello's plays falls into three overlapping categories, the first exploring the nature of the theater, the second the complexities of personality in the etymological or dramatic sense of the term, and the third rising to dramatic representation of the categorical imperatives of social, religious, and artistic community. Besides the world-famous Six Characters in Search of an Author (1918), his best plays in the three categories include Each in His Own Way (1924), It Is So (If You Think So) (1917), Henry IV (1922), The New Colony (1925), Lazarus, As You Desire Me (1930), and The Mountain Giants (1937), written after he had been awarded the Nobel Prize in 1934 and left incomplete. Pirandello is the forerunner of much modern theater and literature; among the figures who owe their roots to the innovations of Pirandello are Bertolt Brecht, Jean Genet, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Samuel Beckett (see Vol. 1).

Bibliographic information