Luigi Pirandello


1867

28 June: born in Chaos (Caos), a poor suburb of Girgenti (Agrigento, a poor town of southern Sicily). His father was a fairly prosperous sulphur dealer. His mother Caterina Ricci Gramitto was from a well-to-do background, but both parents participated actively in the struggle for unification and democracy in Italy. In fact Stefano was the member of the famous adventure of the Thousands and later following Garibaldi all the way to the battle of Aspromonte. His parents intended that LP should take over the family business, but LP demonstrated a studious bent early on, and as a result, he was provided with a literary schooling.

1871

Italy is, for the most part, unified. But his parents' strong sense of idealism quickly transformed into a bitter sense of betrayal and resentment which eventually got transferred into LP.

1880

The Pirandello family moves to Palermo, the capital of Sicily, where LP later completes high school.

1887

Enters the University of Rome.

1889

Mal Giocondo, his first collection of poems, is published. In it he presents his desperation about being in Rome. LP transfers to Bonn University where he later completes his doctoral thesis, a study of his native Sicilian dialect.

1893

The Outcast, his first novel, is published.

1894

Arranged marriage to Antonietta Portulano, whom he had never met. She is the daughter of his father's business partner. Antonietta's mother had died in childbirth because her father was so insanely jealous that he would not allow a doctor to be present during the birth.

1903

The Pirandello family business collapses, leaving LP to support himself by teaching. Antonietta begins to manifest the signs of mental illness. She becomes so violent that she should have been hospitalized, but stays at home until around 1919, when LP is finally able to afford to send her to a private sanitarium. The illness had a profound effect on LP's writing, leading him to explorations of madness, illusion, and isolation.

1904

The Late Mattia Pascal, his first widely acclaimed novel, is published.

1916

LP begins to write for the theater. He quickly becomes quite prolific, turning out as many as nine plays in one year. His first three plays are each written in less than a week.

1920

As Before, Better than Before is produced, and becomes his first notable critical success.

1921

Within a five-week period he writes two masterpieces: Six Characters in Search of an Author and Henry IV. Six Characters has a successful but scandalous opening in Rome and, soon after, another successful--but less scandalous--opening in Milan.

1925

With the help of Mussolini, who had publicly announced his admiration for the playwright, LP opens his own Art Theatre in Rome.

Some scholars have suggested that LP's enthusiastic adoption of fascism was a matter of practicality, a strategic ploy to advance his career. Had he opposed the fascist regime, it would have meant serious difficulties for him and for his art. Acceptance, on the other hand, meant subsidies and publicity. His statement that "I am a Fascist because I am an Italian." has often been called on to support this theory, and one of his later plays, The Giants of the Mountain, has often been interpreted as showing his growing realization that the fascist giants were hostile to culture. And yet, during his last appearance in New York, LP voluntarily distributed a statement announcing his support of Italy's annexation of Abyssinia. He even gave his Nobel medal over to the Italian government to be melted down for the Abyssinian campaign.

1934

Nobel Prize

1936

December 10 -- dies alone in his home at Via Bosio, Rome.

 

images