Luigi Pirandello was born June 28, 1867 in Girgenti (today Agrigento) by Stefano and Caterina Ricci-Gramitto, both of liberal and anti-Bourbon feelings (the father had participated in the company of the Thousand). He completed his classical studies in Palermo, then moved to Rome and Bonn where he graduated in Romance Philology.
In 1889 he had already published the collection of verses "Mal giocondo" and in 1991 the lyric book "Pasqua di Gea". In 1894 he married Girigenti Maria Antonietta Portulano from whom he had three children; these are the years when his work as a writer begins to become intense: he publishes "Love without love" (short stories), translates the "Roman Elegies" of Goethe and begins to teach Italian Literature at the Istituto Superiore di Magistero in Rome. The merit that some critics have attributed to Pirandello is to have been able to record, throughout the span of a vast literary career, the fundamental steps in Italian history and society from the Risorgimento up to the most widespread crises within culture, theater and social reality of the western world.
"Il fu Mattia Pascal" (novel of 1904) is the starting point through which, in addition to undermining the veristic narrative mechanisms, Pirandello fully captures the drama of twentieth-century man, so intensely fathomed even by contemporary and subsequent European literature.
The production of the Sicilian writer is vast and varied. His writings, novels and novels, are mainly inspired by the bourgeois environment that will then be further explored and defined, in every detail, in theatrical works to which Pirandello comes relatively late. The themes of his novellas constitute, in fact, a sort of effective laboratory that will be largely re-proposed in theatrical works (the passage from the novels to the theater takes place naturally due to the stringency of the dialogues and the effectiveness of the situations while the " poetics of humor "turned into" dramaturgy of humor "); so in a few years, from 1916 onwards, appear on the scene "Think Giacomino", "Liolà", "So it is (if you like)", "But it's not a serious thing", "The Pleasure of Honesty" , "The game of the parts", "All for good", "The man the beast the virtue" and then get to the "Six characters in search of an author" of 1921 which consecrate Pirandello playwright of world fame (the drama was represented in 1922 in London and New York and in 1923 in Paris).
If the first Pirandello theater represented in various cases a "theatricalization of life", with the Six characters (but also with Each in its own way, This evening is recited to the subject and with Henry IV) the object of the theater becomes the theater same; we are faced with what the critics have called the "metateatro": "staging of fiction that denounces the existence of a code and reveals its conventional character" (Angelini).
Among the many other dramas we remember The life I gave you, How you want me, Dress the naked, Do not know how, and finally the works in which, the abandonment of the "poetic of humor", the proposition of ideological content takes over and psychological analysis now far removed from any naturalistic temptation; we are talking about the "three myths": the social one (The new colony), the religious one (Lazzaro) and the one on art (The mountain giants) written in the late twenties and early thirties.
From the collapse of the verosimilitude of the traditional theater to the crisis of the drama represented in its impossibility, to the theater of new myths, Pirandello has marked a vast and interesting path not completely alien, as has been observed many times, from the alchemy of modern physics . Some of the more recent theatrical outcomes, such as the theater of the absurd from Jonesco to Beckett, can not be evaluated without taking into account the Pirandellian experiences.
Of his activity it must be remembered that he was the founder in 1925 of a Teatro dell'Arte in Rome that proposed new authors to the Italian public. In 1929 he was nominated Academic of Italy and in 1934 he organized an international conference in which the most important exponents of the theater as Copeau, Reinhardt, Tairov participated. In the same year he obtained the Nobel Prize for Literature and two years later died from pulmonary congestion.