Luigi Pirandello: Three Major Plays / Edition 1by Luigi Pirandello, Carl R. Mueller
Pub. Date: 01/28/2000
Publisher: Smith & Kraus, Inc.
Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936), Sicilian by birth, said of himself "I am the son of Chaos," a pun on the name of the town of his birth, to be sure, but not a far cry from the reality of his life and work. An essayist, novelist, and short-story writer, he eventually took up playwriting and quite simply became the founder of modern drama as we know it, a fact that brought him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1934. His dramatic work greatly influenced such movements as surrealism and the absurdist theater of the post-war period. Pirandello's chief concern as a dramatist is the nature of truth and delusion and the importance of dreams. Fact for him was unverifiable because each character, like each living individual, has a unique, supjective, vision of truth. His major obsession is the battle between illusion and reality and the inability to distinguish between them. The three plays in this volume are considered his masterpieces and they are seen constantly on the stages of the world. Six Characters in Search of an Author deals with a family of six who show up at a theater rehearsal asking that someone validate them by utilizing their lives in a play. Right You Are (If You Think So) is about the morbid curiosity of a town's population to discover the "truth" about the Ponza family, a task they find to be frustratingly impossible. Henry IV concerns the nature of reality and delusion in the mind of a man who may be a king, but then again, maybe not. Pirandello is as current and topical today as he was when he wrote, and almost every theater innovation in playwriting that has come after him owes its existence to his vision of the impossibility of knowing anything for certain. These distinguished new translations by Carl R. Mueller are lucid and performable and renew Pirandello's legacy in English for a new generation.
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