Late Mattia Pascal

ISBN-10: 1590171152

ISBN-13: 9781590171158

Edition: 2005

Authors: Luigi Pirandello, William Weaver, Charles Simic, Luigi Pirandello, Charles Simic

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Description:

Pascal, a landowner fallen on hard times and trapped in a miserable marriage, runs away and wins money at the gaming tables. Meanwhile a body has been found in the millrace of his village and it is assumed that Pascal has killed himself.
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Book details

List price: $15.95
Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: New York Review of Books, Incorporated, The
Publication date: 11/30/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 272
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.594
Language: English

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).

William Weaver was born on July 24, 1923. During World War II, he joined the American Field Service and was sent to Africa and then to Italy as an ambulance driver. As a senior at Princeton University, he had a short story published in Harper's Bazaar. After graduation, he taught at the University of Virginia for a year before returning to Italy. He was a translator of modern Italian literature into English. He translated the works of numerous authors including Italo Calvino, Umberto Eco, Giorgio Bassani and Primo Levi. He also studied opera and wrote several books on the subject including The Golden Century of Italian Opera from Rossini to Puccini. He taught at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York in the 1990s. He died on November 12, 2013 at the age of 90.

Charles Simic was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, immigrated with his family to Chicago in 1954, and was educated at New York University. Although his native language was Serbian, he began writing in English. Some of his work reflects the years he served in the U.S. Army (1961--63). He has been awarded a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, a Guggenheim Foundation grant, and a National Endowment for the Arts award. "My poetry always had surrealistic tendencies, which were discouraged a great deal in the '50's," the poet said, but such tendencies were applauded in the 1970s and his reputation consequently flourished. His poems are about obsessive fears and often depict a world that resembles the animism of primitive thought. His work has affinities with that of Mark Strand and has in its turn produced several imitators. Simic was appointed the fifteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 2007

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