Fall 2004
Cancelled

HUMS 660 (THST)
Naked Masks: Folly and Autobiography in Luigi Pirandello's Plays and Novels

Giannini,Stefano

09/13/2004 - 12/18/2004
Monday -

The works of Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936, Nobel Prize 1934) have changed the structure of modern theater as we now recognize it. They influenced movements such as expressionism and surrealism at intellectual, artistic, and cinematic levels. Titles such as SIX CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF AN AUTHOR, RIGHT YOU ARE (IF YOU THINK YOU ARE), and HENRY IV have long been part of any theatrical experience. His works have been translated worldwide and have become classics. G. B. Shaw is perhaps the only other author whose works have influenced theater as profoundly as Pirandello.

Pirandello was often accused of cold intellectualism. His works were perceived as cunning combinations of real life episodes whose goals were to unsettle readers in preparation for the author's attempts at dissecting the notion of truth. Pirandello's characters choose to, and are eventually condemned to hide behind figurative masks of conformity (Pirandello entitled the collection of his plays NAKED MASKS). Is his art a rational attempt to make sense of life? Is it an act of self-defense against his fear of the fragmentation of the self symbolized by the many masks? Or rather the assertion of the defeat of reason against the instinct, both represented by the divided self of his characters? To what extent are folly and autobiography intertwined in Pirandello's work? How did Alfred Binet?s ALTERATIONS OF PERSONALITY (1892) influence him? The figure of the woman, a key element in Pirandello's writing and life, will lead our analysis.

In this course we will examine Pirandello's major plays as well as selections from his many novels and short stories. Pirandello's prose writing is less known outside of Italy, yet it is crucial for the understanding of his artistic dimension: we will read from THE LATE MATTIA PASCAL; ONE, NO ONE, AND ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND; and HER HUSBAND. Additional readings will include AS YOU DESIRE ME, TONIGHT WE IMPROVISE, CLOTHE THE NAKED, GRAFTED, and EACH IN HIS OWN WAY.

Students will be responsible for class participation, leading a class discussion, an oral presentation, and two papers.


Stefano Giannini (Laurrea in Lettere, University of Genova; M.A. University of Oregon; Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University) is adjunct assistant professor of Romance languages and literatures at Wesleyan University. His recent publications inlcude "Una salita agra. Lettura di'Autostrada della Cisa' de Vittorio Sereni," Italian Quarterly (2003).


ENROLLMENT INFORMATION

Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:
Luigi Pirandello, COLLECTED PLAYS: SIX CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF AN AUTHER: ALL FOR THE BEST, CLOTHE THE NAKED, LIMES FROM SICILY, Volume 2 (Riverrun Press), Paperback

Luigi Pirandello, COLLECTED PLAYS: AS YOU DESIRE ME, THINK IT OVER GIACCOMINO!, THIS TIME IT WILL BE DIFFERENT, THE EMBECILE, Volume 4 (Riverrun Press), Paperback

Luigi Pirandello, COLLECTED PLAYS: HENRY IV, RIGHT YOU ARE IF YOU THINK YOU ARE, LAZARUS, THE MAN WITH THE FLOWER IN HIS MOUTH, Volume 2 (Riverrun Press), Paperback

Luigi Pirandello, COLLECTED PLAYS: NO ONE KNOWS WHY, CAP AND BELLS, THE JAR, I HAVEN'T YET CHOSEN, Volume 5 (Riverrun Press), Paperback

Luigi Pirandello, LATE MATTIA PASCAL (Marsilio Publishers), Paperback

Luigi Pirandello, HER HUSBAND (Duke University Press), Paperback

OPTIONAL READING:

Luigi Pirandello, LUIGI PIRANDELLO'S LOVE LETTERS TO MARTA ABBA (Princeton University Press), Paperback

Daniela Bini, PIRANDELLO AND HIS MUSE: THE PLAYS FOR MARTA ABB (University Press of Florida), Paperback

READING MATERIALS AVAILABLE AT BROAD STREET BOOKS, 45 BROAD STREET, MIDDLETOWN, 860-685-7323

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