The Late Mattia Pascal

The Late Mattia Pascal

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by Luigi Pirandello
     
 

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Pascal, a landowner fallen on hard times and trapped in a miserable marriage, runs away from home and wins a lot of money at the gaming tables in Monte Carlo. Meanwhile a dead body has been found in his village, and his neighbors assume it is Pascal— that he has killed himself. Seizing the chance to create a new life, Pascal travels to Rome under an assumed

Overview

Pascal, a landowner fallen on hard times and trapped in a miserable marriage, runs away from home and wins a lot of money at the gaming tables in Monte Carlo. Meanwhile a dead body has been found in his village, and his neighbors assume it is Pascal— that he has killed himself. Seizing the chance to create a new life, Pascal travels to Rome under an assumed name, struggles to invent a different identity, fails, and returns home. There, he finds his wife has remarried. Now he must act out the role of a living ghost. These tragic events are recounted with verve and wit in Simborowski's spirited translation.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Three writers of the twentieth century have given voice to—and leant their names to—our disquiet, our injuries, and our fear; at the same time, through the catharsis or measure of contemplation, which are among the revelations of art, they have helped us to live by tempering our anxiety and desperation; and I am using this term, tempering, in a musical sense…of striking a more pure, more cristalline, more vibrant note. These three writers are Pirandello, Kafka, and Borges.
— Leonardo Sciascia

Very funny, often hilariously so. It is also moving, disturbing, tragic. For Pirandello saw comedy residing in “the fundamental contradiction … between human aspiration and frailty,” a contradiction that induced “a certain perplexity between weeping and laughing.”
— The New York Times Book Review

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Universally recognized as one of the founding figures of modern drama and theater, Pirandello is virtually unknown here as a novelist and short story writer. Written in 1904, this novel touches on some of the themes that reverberate throughout his work: illusion and reality, the enigmas of identity, art and life. The narratorprotagonist is something of a buffoon, a figure out of comic opera, the impoverished son of a once-rich family stripped bare by a villainous swindler of an estate manager. Living a dreary life as an archivist, tired of his dismal marriage, plagued by an intrusive mother-in-law, tormented by creditors, he slips away to Monte Carolo and hits it big. While he is gone, a suicide in his hometown is mistakenly identified as the very same Mattia, who, being an enterprising scamp, changes name and identity, marries anew in adopted territory, fakes his own suicide and returns to the orginal scene as his old self, to the consternation and confusion of everyone. Comedy descends to farce and slapstick here and there; but no harm done. Essentially the novel is a lark, with some shadowy overtones; and the portrait of town lifethe ``biographies of worms,'' Mattia saysis drawn in acid. (April)
Library Journal
Pascall abhors his life until he accidentally is declared dead and gets to start over under a new name. When that existence also flounders, he realizes he didn't have it so bad. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Janette Turner Hospital
"The novel is very funny, often hilariously so. It is also moving, disturbing, tragic. Pirandello's saw comedy residing in that 'fundamental contradiction...between human aspiration and human fraility,' a contradiction that induced 'a certain perplexity between weeping and laughing.'" -- The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590171158
Publisher:
New York Review Books
Publication date:
10/10/2004
Series:
New York Review Books Classics Series
Edition description:
Translatio
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
1,124,400
Product dimensions:
5.13(w) x 7.97(h) x 0.59(d)

Meet the Author

Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936)was born in Sicily in a prosperous middle-class family. After university he dedicated himself to literary pursuits and published, poetry, short stories, a novel and plays. The bankruptcy of his father in 1903 drastically altered his life. His wife became ill both mentally and physically and he contemplated committing suicide. It is against this background that he wrote The Late Mattia Pascal in 1904 which is seen as the beginning of all that is most interesting in his work. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1934.

Nicoletta Simborowski read Modern Languages at Oxford and then worked in publishing and as a teacher at Westminster School in London.She combines a career as a lecturer in Italian at Christ Church, Oxford with freelance interpreting and translating for television and video. Her translations for Dedalus are: The Late Mattia Pascal by Luigi Pirandello, Abbe Jules and Sebastien Roch by Octave Mirbeau.

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The Late Mattia Pascal 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago