The Late Mattia Pascal
The Late Mattia Pascal
New York Review of Books, Paperback, 9781590171158, 272pp.
Publication Date: November 30, 2004
An explorer of identity and its mysteries, a connoisseur of black humor, Nobel Prize winner Luigi Pirandello is among the most teasing and profound of modern masters. "The Late Mattia Pascal," here rendered into English by the outstanding translator William Weaver, offers an irresistible introduction to this great writer's work.
"I think that life is a very sad piece of buffoonery; because we have in ourselves, without being able to know why, wherefore or whence, the need to deceive ourselves constantly by creating a reality (one for each and never the same for all), which from time to time is discovered to be vain and illusory.... My art is full of bitter compassion for all those who deceive themselves; but this compassion cannot fail to be followed by the ferocious derision of destiny which condemns man to deception." Charles Simic is a poet, essayist and translator. He has published twenty collections of his own poetry, five books of essays, a memoir, and numerous of books of translations. He has received many literary awards for his poems and his translations, including the Pulitzer Prize, the Griffin Prize and the MacArthur Fellowship. "Voice at 3 A.M.," his selected later and new poems, was published in 2003 and a new book of poems "My Noiseless Entourage" came out in the spring of 2005. His new e-book is titled "Confessions of a Poet Laureate."
William Weaver is celebrated for his numerous translations from the Italian, including Umberto Eco's "The Name of the Rose" and novels and stories by Italo Calvino.
Three writers of the twentieth century have given voice to—and leant their names to—our disquiet, our injuries, and our fear; at the same time, through the catharsis or measure of contemplation, which are among the revelations of art, they have helped us to live by tempering our anxiety and desperation; and I am using this term, tempering, in a musical sense…of striking a more pure, more cristalline, more vibrant note. These three writers are Pirandello, Kafka, and Borges.
— Leonardo Sciascia
Very funny, often hilariously so. It is also moving, disturbing, tragic. For Pirandello saw comedy residing in “the fundamental contradiction … between human aspiration and frailty,” a contradiction that induced “a certain perplexity between weeping and laughing.”
— The New York Times Book Review