Death: 10th December 1936
Location: Casa natale di Luigi Pirandello, Agrigento, Sicily, Italy
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Italian dramatist, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1934 ‘for his bold and ingenious revival of dramatic and scenic art’. His work has been compared to that of Henrik Ibsen and August Strindberg and his influence can be seen in the work of Samuel Beckett and Eugene Ionesco.
He was born in southern Sicily into a relatively wealthy family and was educated in Rome and Bonn. In 1894 he married Antonietta Portulano and in 1898 he took a post as professor of Italian literature, a position he retained for twenty four years. In 1904 his wife suffered a mental breakdown and her resulting paranoia and jealousy greatly influenced Pirandello’s writing; by 1919 he was forced to place her in a mental institution. In 1916 he turned his attention to the theatre and during a five week period in 1921 he wrote his two best known works; Six Characters in Search of an Author, and Henry IV.
After this Pirandello became a major public figure and in 1925, with the help of Mussolini, who publicly announced his admiration for the playwright, Pirandello opened his own Theatre in Rome. His relationship with Mussolini has been the subject of much debate, with some believing that his adoption of fascism was a strategic move to advance his career. Pirandello gave his Nobel medal to the Fascist government to be melted down for the Abyssinian campaign.