15 June 2004
After looking through a number of journals, I decided that I would like to further study the life of Pirandello and discover the relationship between his life and his works and the themes and symbols in those works. I want to look at the period of Fascism in Italy at the time and Pirandello’s relationship with Mussolini, his relationship with his wife and her insanity, and his late relationship with Marta Abba.
Biow, Douglas. “Psychoanalysis, History, Marginality: A Study of Violence and Disease in Pirandello's Enrico IV” Italica. 66.2 (1989): 158-75.
In this article, Biow develops an analysis of the characters in the play, Enrico IV. Most important, however, is his analysis of Enrico IV. He talks about the dual sidedness of his disease. Although he supposedly has a disease where he believes he is Enrico IV, after he reveals the truth, that he knows he is not Enrico IV, he essential has a “disease” of pretending to be Enrico IV. So in his situation, and no matter what he does, he can never alleviate his disease although he believes he is the only one who is not plagued. This disease parallels the disease that his wife had. It was the same “mask” that Enrico IV wore. She herself probably felt sane and no matter what she did everyone else saw her as being crazy.
Fiskin, A. M. I. “Luigi Pirandello: The Tragedy of the Man Who Thinks.” Italica. 25.1 (1948): 44-51.
This article gives many good examples from many of Pirandello’s major works that relate to the concept of the mask. The mask, in this journal, was taken in more of a social role, in a sense of conformity. The Father in Six Characters claims to have presented many different appearances before. In The Late Mattia Pascal, the main woman in the play is perceived by the world to have cheated on her husband and cannot remove the scarlet letter, so to speak. As such, she must conform and accept her fate because any other way is unacceptable. He also talks about how the mask is often irremovable, and is often more real than reality itself is.
Liukkonen, Luke. “Luigi Pirandello.” 2000. 15 June 2004. <http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/pirandel.htm>
This source is essentially a short biography of Luigi Pirandello. It tells that in 1894 he married Antonietta Portulano. Then in 1904, she suffered from a mental breakdown. Her condition worsened until in 1919, Pirandello had to take her to an insane asylum. Also, during World War I, his sons were sent to fight in the war and were captured and became prisoners of war.
Later, he met an actress named Marta Abba and developed a relationship with her and wrote many plays for her. He engaged her for his company, the Teatro d’Arte di Roma. In 1923, Pirandello joined the Fascist party and gained Mussolini’s support in with the Teatro d’Arte di Roma. Also in this article are all the works by Pirandello and the dates of their release.
Noether, Emiliana P. “Italian Intellectuals under Fascism.” The Journal of Modern History. 43.4 (1971): 630-48.
This article discusses how Italian intellectuals were brought into the Fascist party. Giovanni Gentile joined the party on June 2, 1923 to give the Fascist movement a more ideological basis. Pirandello initially rejected the request for his membership, claiming he was there in spirit, but was busy with work. Then, in April 1925, a Manifesto of Italian Intellectuals was issued with a variety of parts. Pirandello was one who signed the Manifesto. Then in Rome in 1929, Gentile established the Accademia d’Italia as an elite intellectual group in the Fascist group, among those included was Luigi Pirandello.
Ragusa, Olga. “Pirandello’s ‘Teatro d’Arte’ and a New Look at His Fascism.” Italica. 55.2 (1978): 236-53.
This paper talks about Pirandello and his involvement in founding the Teatro d’Arte, the National Theater of Art in Rome. The major problems he faced were financial issues. Pirandello had also given his entire savings of 65,000 lire in order to help start the theater. On March 29, 1925, he wrote a letter to Mussolini to use his prestige to convince wealthy patrons to put their support into founding the theater. The letter also encouraged Mussolini to be at the inauguration, which is why he showed up.
Later in the article, Ragusa discusses Pirandello’s early enrollment and involvement with the Fascist party. On September 24, 1924, Pirandello joined supposedly because of the murder of two people: Matteotti and Casalini. But in his letter requesting admission to the party, he talks a lot about the freedom of press, which could be a large factor in joining.
Hildebrand, Olle. “Pirandello’s Theater and the Influence of Nikolai Evreinov.” Italica. 60.2 (1983): 107-39.
Nikolai Evreinov was a Russian playwright who was very influential in the Russian modernist movement. Pirandello has had a strong interest in Russian theater since the middle 1920s. Also, in the first season of the Teatro d’Arte, Pirandello showed two of Evreinov’s plays and makes reference to many of Evreinov’s ideas in a preface he wrote. He also notes that many of the same themes appear throughout Evreinov’s and Pirandello’s works, such as the battle between reality and illusion and the use of the raison d’être, the “reasoner” who tells the main philosophies of the play.
Radcliff-Umstead, Douglas. “Pirandello and the Puppet World.” Italica. 44.1 (1967): 13-27.
This paper deals generally with one of Pirandello’s major themes in his works, which is the idea of people acting as puppets. The author says that Pirandello’s characters act like puppets in order to free themselves of the hurt of facing the real world. This theme started appearing in Pirandello’s first novel in 1904, Il Fu Mattia Pascal. Pirandello claims that all men must wear a mask to defend him, otherwise “Society forces one to be a mask of himself” (7). Two of the major works that deal with puppets are Six Characters in Search of an Author, and Henry IV.
Lawrence, Kenneth. “Luigi Pirandello: Holding Nature up to the Mirror.” Italica. 47.1 (1970): 61-77.
This article begins by introducing some of Pirandello’s major themes. They are illusion and reality, the relativity of truth, the uncertainty of personality, the temporal flux, and art vs. life. He then goes into some of the more specific elements in Pirandello’s plays. He talks about a central character named the “reasoner” This character holds the central philosophies and ideologies that the work is portraying. There is also the “obligatory scene,” which is the scene demonstrating the crucial themes in the play.
He then begins discussing Sei personaggi and its relation to the theme of art vs. life, what he says is Pirandello’s overlying theme. He then discusses Ciascuno a suo modo and how it relates to the art vs. life relationship. Finally, he details the same relationship in one of Pirandello’s later plays, Questa sera si recita a soggetto. These three plays represent powerful themes that run from the beginning of Pirandello’s works to the middle of his time until near the end of his writing career.