Selected Poems of Luigi Pirandello

Selected Poems of Luigi Pirandello

Selected Poems of Luigi Pirandello

Selected Poems of Luigi Pirandello


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Luigi Pirandello, an author best know for his plays, novels and short stories, was also a life-long poet. At the age of twenty-two, he published his first collection, “Mal giocondo” (1889, Troubled Joy), followed quickly by three further volumes, “Pasqua in Gea” (1891, Easter in Gea), “Elegie renane” (1895, Rhenish Elegies) and “Zampogna” (1901, Bagpipes). In 1912 he published his final volume of poetry, “Fuori di chiave” (Offkey), but he continued to publish poetry in literary journals and anthologies until his death in 1936.

In a literary career that spans the turning of the twentieth century, his poetry reflected many of the currents of his time: modernism and relativism, the tension between faith and science and the place of the individual in a world devoid of coherence. He writes movingly of nature — silent, indifferent, unconscious, enduring — as the very antithesis of chaotic human activity. He writes of life and death, children and coffee, of love, earth and dreams. His style might seem traditional — more traditional than would be expected of an author whose work for theater surpassed mere innovation — and while his forms might be conservative, his ideas matched the spirit of his age.

As the translator George Hochfield writes in his introduction, “These poems reveal a somber and sensitive man, the dramatist, who, when the play is over and the curtain is drawn, comes to the front of the stage and addresses the audience directly.”

This dual-language edition presents for the first time in English translation a selection of work from the entire range of Pirandello’s poetic output. George Hochfield offers a sensitive and wise interpretation of that poetry.

Appendices include a selection from “Arte e coscienza d’oggi” (1893, Art and Consciousness in Our Time) and from Pirandello’s Biographical Letter of 1914.

Dual-language Poetry

Introduction, bibliography, chronology, first-line indices, notes and appendices.

256 pages.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781599103211
Publisher: Italica Press
Publication date: 09/20/2016
Series: Italica Press Poetry in Translation
Pages: 258
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.58(d)

About the Author

Luigi Pirandello was born on June 28, 1867 in Kaos, near Agrigento in Sicily, where his father owned sulfur mines. He left Sicily to study in Rome and eventually completed a doctorate in linguistics at the University of Bonn in 1891 with a dissertation on the dialect of his home town. He initiated his writing career as a poet. In 1894 he married Antonietta Portulano, the daughter of one of his father's colleagues. The couple settled in Rome, where Pirandello became acquainted with other writers. He began to write short stories - eventually hundreds of them - and to adapt some of them for the stage.

In 1903 the failure of the family sulfur mines caused severe financial problems for Pirandello, his wife, and their three children Fausto, Stefano, and Lietta. Antonietta began to suffer from severe mental problems from which she never recovered, and she was eventually placed in an institution. Needing to work, Pirandello taught at the Magistero, or normal school. He published his first - still his best-known - novel, "The Late Mattia Pascal," in 1904 and an important theoretical essay, "On Humor," in 1908. His early plays such as "Sicilian Limes" and "Liolà" explore the Sicilian mentality and culture, contrasting it with those of the mainland. His period as a major dramatist began with "Right You Are (If You Think So)" in 1916 and culminated with his two greatest plays, "Six Characters in Search of an Author" (1921 and 1925) and "Henry IV" (1922), now both newly edited and translated by Martha Witt and Mary Ann Frese Witt and published by Italica Press.

A member of the Fascist Party as early as 1923, Pirandello hoped that Mussolini would support the Teatro d'Arte, which he began to direct in 1925, staging his own plays, some foreign plays, and the works of contemporary Italian dramatists, including Massimo Bontempelli. Il Duce, however, although expressing interest in his work, never gave financial support and the experimental company disbanded in 1928. Despite this disappointment and other disagreements with Mussolini, Pirandello remained a loyal fascist until his death.

Pirandello was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1934 for his "bold and brilliant renovation of the drama and the stage." His plays are still regarded as groundbreaking and a major influence on modernist and postmodernist theater. He died in Rome on December 10, 1936

George Hochfield earned his doctorate in English at the University of California, Berkeley. His specialty was American literature, and he has published important works on Henry Adams and on New England Transcendentalism. As a translator from Italian he has published a memoir, The Officers Camp by Giampiero Carocci, and a novel, Luisa and the Silence, by Claudio Piersanti. He was also the principal translator, in collaboration with Leonard Nathan, of the Selected Poems of Umberto Saba (Yale University Press, 2008). This work was a finalist for the 2010 Lewis Galantière award of the American Translators Association.

Table of Contents

About the Translator v
Introduction xi
Acknowledgments xiv
Select Bibliography xv

from Mal giocondo / Troubled Joy 1
Romanzi V / Romanzi 5 2
Allegre I / Allegre 1 4
Intermezzo lieto I / Intermezzo Lieto 1 6
Momentanee / Momentanee 8
Triste / Triste 12
Solitaria / Solitaria 18

from Pasqua in Gea / Easter in Gea 21
Appendice a Pasqua in Gea / Appendix to "Easter in Gea" 22

from Elegie Renane / Rhenish Elegies 27
from Elegie Renane / from Rhenish Elegies 28

from Zampogna / Bagpipes 33
Come muore / How It Dies 34
Panico / Panic 36
Alberi soli / Solitary Trees 38
Gara / The Contest 40
Rondine / Swallow 42
Temporale estivo / Summer Storm 46
Vigilia / On the Eve 48
A gloria / To Glory 50
Dondolio / Swinging 52
Compenso / Recompense 54
Chi resta / Who Remains 56
Ritorno / The Return 58
Attesa / Waiting 62

from Fuori di Chiave / Offkey 65
Preludio / Prelude 66
Ingresso / Entrance 70
La mèta / The Goal 74
Il pianeta / The Planet 76
Credo / Creed 82
Il tesoro / Wealth 86
Vecchio avviso / An Old Notice 88
Melbthal / Melbthal 90
Primavera dei terrazzi / Springtime on the Terraces 96
L'occhio per la morte / An Eye for Death 100
Onorio / Onorio 102
Stormo / Flight of Birds 104
Sempre bestia / Always an Animal 106
Chiú / To-whoo 106
Meriggio / High Noon 108
Guardando il mare / Looking at the Sea 108
Convegno / A Meeting 110
Leggendo la storia / Reading History 116
Tormenti / Punishments 118
Comiato / Envoi 120

Poesie Varie/ Various Poems (Uncollected) 123
Il globo / The Globe 124
Lieta / Feeling Good 126
Amor sincero / Sincere Love 130
Notte insonne / Sleepless Nights 132
La via / The Way 138
Alba / Dawn 142
Esame (1895) / Examination (1895) 146
Approdo / Landing 148
Torna, Gesu! / Jesus, Come Back! 150
Esame (1896) / Examination (1896) 154
L'abbandono / An Ending 156
Primo rintocco / First Chime 164
Esame (1906) / Examination (1906) 168
Tenui luci improvvise / Glimmerings 174
Esame (1910) / Examination (1910) 182
Il compito / My Duty 194
Conversando (1) / Conversation (1) 196
Conversando (2) / Conversation (2) 198
Sveglia / Wakeup Call 198
L'ultimo caffè / The Last Coffee 200
[Senza titolo] / [Untitled] 204
Improvvisi / Impromptus 206

Notes 211
Appendix 1: From Arte e coscienza d'oggi / Art and
Consciousness in Our Time 217
Appendix 2: An Autobiographical Letter (1914) 227
Chronology 231
Index of First Lines - Italian 233
Index of First Lines - English 237

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