aspects bore and disgust me. Once I have released the idea of whatever play or novel I am carrying about, I feel as if God had abandoned me.'

It would be suggestive to maintain that Pirandello, the Sicilian, is not a Latin at all. Byzantines, Normans, and Arabs, Orientals and Nordics, have all passed over his native country, leaving immortal monuments behind them. When the critics discerned that the success of Pirandellism was a counterbalance to the Nordic influences so prevalent before 1914, they entirely ignored all that this Italian owes to Northern writers. Pirandello studied at Bonn, and in Germany was initiated into the methods of experimental psychology. His entire work was subjected to the most categorical Northern influences to Strindberg even more than to Ibsen. Pirandello is a living proof of how strongly the genius of the North has formed the intellectual sensibility of to-day.

Pirandello's work is based on a philosophical doctrine that he has expressed in the mouths of many of his characters rather verbosely in Henry IV, and rather soberly in The Voluptuousness of Honor. All of Pirandello's themes are devoted solely to revealing the fundamental contradiction behind every human character. They can be classed in three categories the one concerned with the person and with the knowledge of him as a person; the second concerned with that person's external aspect and appearance, with interpreting his life on the basis of appearances; and the third an endeavor to reconcile the person with his appearances, and life with its manifestations, in the form of spiritual labors. This theme pictures the character less in his objective reality than in the unreal element that is his true nature.

'We only know a part of ourselves,' Pirandello has written, 'and perhaps

the smallest part of all. Bobbio used to say that what we call our consciousness is like the small disc of water one sees in a well. Beyond the horizons of our memory there are undoubtedly wide stretches of experience, crowds of events and perceptions, that escape our momentary consciousness and that compose our real selves - not only the self that we are to-day, but the person that we have been in the past. One could go further, and say that we continue to feel and think with sentiments and ideals that have been for a long time forgotten, obscured, and extinguished, but which can suddenly be awakened by an unexpected sensation a smell or a color that reveals within us the persistent life of another unsuspected character.'

In modern literature it has become banal to waste any paper on the 'I feel two men within me' theme, as the Father of the Church did. It is not two people, but ten, a hundred, a thousand, different personalities, that the writers of to-day feel stirring within them. Their ego is infinitely divisible. It is not a parcel of distinct units. The double characters of Edgar Poe or Stevenson are rudimentary compared to what we see now. These double characters do not originate only for the reasons that Pirandello indicated in the above passage- that is, through the freezing of the past forms within a single person; but they originate from all the hereditary influences, reactions, deviations, and psychological peculiarities that modern methods of psychoanalysis have been able to discern. "The individual composed of contradictory characters like a mythological monster' that is the object that Pirandello proposes to study. The notion of character as the ancients conceived it escapes him entirely. This notion presupposes a will or a dominant passion that Pirandello heroes never have.

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They are always susceptible to strange moral changes. With Pirandello, more than with any other writer, every emotion involves the opposite emotion. This is carried to such a point that one of the heroes in Six Characters in Search of an Author exclaims, 'Anything that can appear to you inconsequential is tangible proof that you have a living character standing before you.'

And the same character explains how this paradoxical construction of the soul is the basis of all conflicts. ‘Drama, to my mind, lies entirely in the knowledge that all of us try to be one person, when as a matter of fact a hundred or a thousand possibilities exist within us.'

Each one of the different elements in our character will act differently, and often without relation to our synthetic whole, the sum total of all these personalities. 'I have often thought,' says the hero of Shoot, 'that, however honest a man is, he cannot consider his actions in an absolute sense, that is to say, apart from the incidences and coincidences that give them their weight and value, without being guilty of omitting a fault that is concealed even from himself.’

All these different possibilities within every character are bound to cause dramatic situations, either because each trait in a person can fall into conIflict with his other traits, or because men never know whom they are dealing with. But looking at the character alone, without taking into consideration its relations with anyone else, the original source of all these conflicts can be discerned in a man's knowledge of his own inner depths. His anxiety is a self-revelation. ‘A man who considers another profoundly,' says one of the characters in Shoot, 'soon makes this other lose his own consciousness of being alive; but if a man contemplates himself, his consciousness of life will be obscured and will vacillate.' This is

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perhaps the basis of Pirandello's drama of anxiety, in which men who have weighed their chances and capacities are incapable of action. 'He is too accustomed,' says another character in Shoot, 'to talking to himself— in other words, to the worst enemy that any of us possesses; he has no clear perception of anything; he is lost and alone in the dark, crushed by his own mysteriousness and by the mysteriousness of everything about him.'

This is indeed the complete condemnation of analytical power, of the abuse of conscience-searching. These conflicts of Pirandello's, which would be numerous enough if they were confined only to what went on within us, are multiplied by the fact that we all are in contact with the outside world, and it is here that Pirandello stands on the same ground with a great number of modern authors. To understand how extensive these conflicts are we must study his themes that deal with appearances.

Everything is only appearance, and consequently instability and uncertainty. To this formula most French critics have reduced Pirandellism, though it actually contains a great deal more. Nothing happens as we imagine it does. That is the point of one of Pirandello's most curious stories, The Lost Nobleman. No teaching is absolutely true. That is the moral of You're Right If You Think So, where everything is based on interpretation. Given a living character, everyone makes his own image of that character; and if the same person is observed by two others at once, the two images that are formed of him will never be identical. In Madame Morti, First and Second, we see a wife who is gay and frivolous with her husband, and silent, almost morose, with her lover.

Pirandello says of one of his heroines: 'Undoubtedly Madame Anita has

another side; but that is not all; she possesses another, and another, and still another, as many as there are people who know her and whom she knows.' This theme has become almost banal by now, and we find it cropping up in authors as different as Clemence Dane in her novel, Legend, Paul Morand in the story of La Glace à trois faces in L'Europe galante, and even to a certain extent in Estaunié, in L'Apel de la route. Pirandello pursues one of his favorite themes in Comme ci (ou comme ça). A young man in love with an actress of doubtful morals introduces her to his mother. He is going to marry her, but at the moment of the marriage he is overcome by its difficulties and kills himself. This situation being admitted, Pirandello starts filling the play with all kinds of uncertainties. First of all, can the suicide be explained by the conduct of the young lady? Two men discuss this point. One affirms that she is merely an intriguer. The other claims that she has acted nobly and tried to cure her lover of his passion; but the next day he has changed his opinion-proving the rule that every argument involves its opposite. Facts, therefore, are uncertain, if not in themselves, at least in the interpretation to which they can be subjected. Going still further, does the heroine herself know why she has done what she has? Because in explaining her conduct she is incapable of saying whether she was chivalrous or innocent./Hence there is no truth, no certainty nothing. Life is a dream, as Calderon would saya gamble played by unconscious divinities.

Can we escape from this infernal cycle of illusions? No, says Pirandello. The Late Mathias Pascal is a story of a man who profited from a fake attempt at suicide to assume another name and live a completely free life. At the beginning he feels he is master of himself,

freed from his past, and able to create for himself a future to his liking. 'His conscience becomes pure and trans parent again,' but soon we see him overwhelmed by the very appearances that he wanted to destroy. Here lies the chief weakness of the book, because only appearances are active, and the evolution of the hero does not obey in any way his inner fatality. He feels himself the shadow of a shadow when his earlier personality begins to establish itself again.

To such themes Pirandello adds still another category- the conflict between the person and appearances. We know that the exterior being that we see, observe, and touch is only the provisional appearance of the inner man, yet everything moves along as if these two individuals, being and appearance, were separate. They can even enter into conflict with each other. Thus it is that life revolts against the mask it wears, as in The Voluptuousness of Honor perhaps Pirandello's best play, because it is his most human. Here Baldovino, who has accepted the position of nominal husband to a young girl of good family who has been seduced, plays out his part with complete honesty, but suddenly feels something within him protest against the attitude he is compelled to assume. He can no longer live with this woman; he wakes up from his dreamy abstractions and faces reality once more not without risks. On the other hand, the mask may revolt against life instead of life revolting against the mask. This is the subject of Henry IV, a play of appearances that can be compared to Chesterton's Napoleon of Notting Hill. The story deals with a man who falls off his horse during a pageant in which he is dressed up as Henry IV. He suddenly regains consciousness in the character of the hero of the conflicts between

Church and State, but after a few years his reason returns and he can take up his normal life again. Then it is that his mask takes revenge on life and he pretends to be crazy. When he is forced to contradict himself before a board of medical experts, he raises his mask for a minute and takes advantage of his appearance of madness to kill an enemy, thus gaining revenge on life. He then, having shown to curious observers that they are more insane than he, assumes his mask once more and returns to his rôle of lunatic.

These conflicts between the person and the appearance become still more violent owing to the transformations life makes us undergo transformaundergo-transformations to which our appearances do not readily conform. This is what is expressed by such phrases as, 'We continue to feel and think with sentiments and ideals long forgotten and extinguished.'

People have wanted to make Pirandello the champion of intellectualism and to see in his plays only illustrations of audacious intellectual themes. This is false. I do not mean to say that there is not a greater satisfaction in his intellectual tricks than in the sensibility of his character analysis. I also recognize that the essence of Pirandellism is thought-concept; but I do wish to make clear that he denies that thought can exist above and beyond the immanent reality it interprets.

What we call Pirandellism is only a facile game, but it would be unjust to reduce Pirandello himself to Pirandellism. "The "theatre of ideas" is a phrase that French criticism has repeated again and again,' says Benjamin Crémieux, 'but this idea must quickly be spiked. His theatre makes you think, but it is not a theatre of ideas.'

Pirandello dislikes logic. He detests

it, not as Unamuno does, because it is a prison, but because it is an error. 'Reason is an empty vessel if blind instinct does not fill it up.' He may well be suspected of having a weakness for theories and applying them too systematically, but it must be observed that he never allows theories to exist first and permits facts to follow. He dissociates theories from life, and he dissociates them in the name of a realism superior to the ordinary realism of a Zola that consciously confines itself to appearances. 'Events are like sacks - if they are empty they do not stand up. To stand up any occurrence must have a meaning, and we must enter into the motives and sentiments that have provoked that occurrence.'

Pirandello is less an inventor than an observer. When he invents, it is in the light of his observations and of the logic or lack of logic which is his point of departure. Above all he is a creator of characters, and his image coincides so closely with the logic of life that the adventure of Mathias Pascal actually occurred in real life twenty years after the publication of Pirandello's novel.

Although he may paint his characters in too eccentric colors, and although he treats them like a mechanical equation, yet he shows a certain sympathy for them. This sympathy is not visibly addressed to the surface, but to the inner life, the sense of which Pirandello really wishes to communicate to us. He understands pity, and his work is not devoid of human feeling and sympathy. This is proved by the place he gives to little children and the infinite gentleness with which he speaks of them.

'We cannot understand life if we do not somehow or other explain death, the criterion for all our actions, the thread that leads us out of this labyrinth in which we live. The light of life itself should come to us from

death.' Assuredly, but the fact that Pirandello puts this remark in the mouth of a minor character in The Late Mathias Pascal does not prove to us one way or the other whether Pirandello needed to discover this light himself. We have nothing more than a fragile intuition based on a few observations in which the discretion of the author does not entirely conceal the anxiety of his soul. This leads us to the conviction that so profound a state of anxiety as that in which Pirandello lives cannot fail to express itself in some kind of metaphysical torment. Such phrases as the following from one of his novels where Pirandello almost succeeded in formulating his theory of life seem to prove this point. 'If man can thus consider and conceive his infinite pettiness, what does it all mean? It means that he understands and conceives the grandeur of the universe, and in that case can it be said that man himself is petty?' But such accidents are rare in Pirandello's work, and more often he speaks of death as a form and appearance.

'Life is like the wind, like a flood, or a flame. Every object that we rescue from its flowing body is dead. We are all drops on the brink of the river of life, splashed out of the eternal stream, permanently fixed in death. For a little while the movement of the original river continues within each separate drop of water, but soon the movement subsides, the flame cools, the form shrivels, and at length all movement ceases. We have achieved death. That is what we call life. What are we? Dead men who have the illusion of life. We marry and die, and believe we confer life, but it is death that we give. Another drop of water on the strand.'

Unquestionably all that is true, and death is just that; but it is something else besides, and we do not care to ad

mit that between life and death, between man and God, for it comes to the same thing, there is only a dif ference of level, and not an essential difference. We should like to believe that the truth about this as Pirandello puts it is only a relative and provi sional truth-a Pirandellan truth, in short.

All the objections that can be raised against Pirandello can be put into a single phrase. In splitting up the individual he demolishes the very basis of tragedy itself, which is not only the basis of theatrical art, but the foundation of human life.

We have seen how his convictions have led him to prefer unreality to reality. His characters live in a world of illusions, but an illusion loses much of its interest when it is admitted as a fact instead of being considered as an error. If one wishes to admit that dreams can be more true than reality, one must also admit the modest corollary that reality is as true as dreams. In his Henry IV Pirandello shows he understood this.

For real tragedy there must be a certain element of positivism. The man who takes account of his duality, of his fundamental multiplicity, unquestionably finds himself in a state of turmoil, which lasts until he has exhausted all the possibilities of his personality. A total knowledge of his character, of his diverse sides, and of his uncertainties, is the final suppression of this conflict, and is therefore complete tragedy.

Pirandellism, therefore, sterilizes the artist, for on the one hand it presupposes the inability of people to communicate with each other. It reduces life to pure appearances, saps the very lifeblood of drama, and, because the individual is by definition composed of an infinite number of fragments, can only move us by a series of crises and sufferings arising from all these inner

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