SIX CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF AN AUTHOR * HENRY IV * THE MOUNTAIN GIANTS Pirandello ranks with Strindberg, Brecht, and Beckett as a seminal figure in modern drama. Invative and influential, he broke decisively with the conventions of realist theatre to foreground the tensions between art and reality. In his best kwn play, six characters, imagined but then abandoned by their author, intrude on the rehearsals of a provincial theatre company in an attempt to play out their family drama. In the brilliant Henry IV, a young man believes himself to be the Holy Roman Emperor; attempts to cure him of his delusion have disastrous consequences. The Mountain Giants is Pirandello's last, unfinished masterpiece, in which he moves towards the mythical, and make-believe and real life once more become entangled. The play reflects its author's growing anxiety about the function of art under a fascist regime. This new edition includes Pirandello's important Preface to Six Characters, an essential critical document for understanding the play that made him famous. Anthony Mortimer's lively and performable translations remain scrupulously faithful to the letter and spirit of the originals.
Luigi Pirandello (1869-1936) broke decisively with the conventions of realist theatre with his two major plays, Six Characters in Search of an Author (1921) and Henry IV (1922). His relationship with Mussolini has been the subject of much debate, and his last play, The Mountain Giants (1937), reflects Pirandello's growing anxiety about artistic integrity under a fascist regime. The quintessential modernist playwright, his plays foreshadow the Theatre of the Absurd and anticipate the work of Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, and Eugene Ionesco. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1934. Anthony Mortimer is best known for his translations of Italian poetry, including Dante, Cavalcanti, Petrarch, and Michelangelo, and, forthcoming, Francois Villon (Oneworld, 2013).