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The Italian classic “The late Mattia Pascal” is one of Luigi Pirandello’s best-known works and a milestone in world literature.


Published in 1904, like other novels of that era, such as Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment or Unamuno’s Abel Sanchez, there is a lot of exploring of the psychology of the main character due to the newly developing field of psychology.

The novel revolves entirely around the theme of individual and the self: Mattia Pascal and his alter ego, Adriano Meis are presented to us on the wave of Pirandello’s poetics of the mask and the double. The main character, taking advantage of an opportunity, or rather a misunderstanding, tries to escape from social conventions to assume a new, allegedly happier identity, but he is ultimately left with the realization that he is nothing more than the late of himself. There’s no full life and no freedom outside the boundaries imposed by society, unless you accept a life of fear and solitude. "Here I was alone, more wholly alone than I could ever hope to be again on this earth; free from every present bond and obligation, a new man, my own master absolutely, with no past to drag along behind me, with a future that could be anything I might choose to make it" Luigi Pirandello (Agrigento, 28 June 1867 – Rome, 10 December 1936) Italian playwright, writer and poet, then Nobel Prize for Literature in 1934 is considered one of the most important playwrights of the 20th century. In Pirandello’s manifold literature, both theatrical and narrative, “Il fu Mattia Pascal”, “Uno, nessuno, centomila”, “6 personaggi in cerca d’autore”, “Le novelle”, are among his most significant works.

Find more classics in our European Digital Library of Creative Expressions!



Author: Francesca Politi - JUMP Team

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