Pirandello, Luigi

Luigi Pirandello (1867–1936), winner of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1934, wrote an influential essay, On Humor, in 1908. The essay consists of a collection of his lessons at the Istituto Superiore di Magistero in Rome. His first six chapters are a history of humor examined in literary, psychological, and philosophical authors—some quoted, others, such as Henri Bergson and Sigmund Freud, not even acknowledged. The second, more original part develops Pirandello’s own personal conception of humor, which, however, owes much to German, French, and Italian thinkers, such as Freud, Bergson, Theodor Lipps, Charles Baudelaire, Alfred Binet, Alberto Cantoni, and Giovanni Marchesini. Although he was born and grew up in Sicily and displayed some typical Sicilian traits (mistrust of others, strong sense of possession, jealousy), ...

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