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Uno, nessuno e centomila (eBook Supereconomici) (Italian Edition)

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“Uno, nessuno e centomila”, uno dei romanzi più famosi di Luigi Pirandello, riesce a sintetizzare il pensiero dell’autore nel modo più completo e può essere considerata come l’apice della carriera dell’autore e della sua tensione narrativa. L’autore stesso, in una lettera autobiografica, la definisce come il romanzo “più amaro di tutti, profondamente umoristico, di scompos “Uno, nessuno e centomila”, uno dei romanzi più famosi di Luigi Pirandello, riesce a sintetizzare il pensiero dell’autore nel modo più completo e può essere considerata come l’apice della carriera dell’autore e della sua tensione narrativa. L’autore stesso, in una lettera autobiografica, la definisce come il romanzo “più amaro di tutti, profondamente umoristico, di scomposizione della vita”. Il protagonista Vitangelo Moscarda, infatti, può essere considerato come uno dei personaggi più complessi del mondo pirandelliano, e sicuramente quello con maggior autoconsapevolezza.


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“Uno, nessuno e centomila”, uno dei romanzi più famosi di Luigi Pirandello, riesce a sintetizzare il pensiero dell’autore nel modo più completo e può essere considerata come l’apice della carriera dell’autore e della sua tensione narrativa. L’autore stesso, in una lettera autobiografica, la definisce come il romanzo “più amaro di tutti, profondamente umoristico, di scompos “Uno, nessuno e centomila”, uno dei romanzi più famosi di Luigi Pirandello, riesce a sintetizzare il pensiero dell’autore nel modo più completo e può essere considerata come l’apice della carriera dell’autore e della sua tensione narrativa. L’autore stesso, in una lettera autobiografica, la definisce come il romanzo “più amaro di tutti, profondamente umoristico, di scomposizione della vita”. Il protagonista Vitangelo Moscarda, infatti, può essere considerato come uno dei personaggi più complessi del mondo pirandelliano, e sicuramente quello con maggior autoconsapevolezza.

30 review for Uno, nessuno e centomila (eBook Supereconomici) (Italian Edition)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    My son asked me what I was reading and for a second I did not know how to answer. I only said: - One, no one, and one hundred thousand. - What do you mean? - Well you're one, right? - Yes. - And for me you are my son, to Anna you're her biggest brother, to grandmother you are her grandson, for the teacher you are "Peter, that boy who disturbs the class", to Victor you are his friend, for each person you're someone-else. - (smiling) Yes. - But for you? Who are you to you? None of those, right? Each sees My son asked me what I was reading and for a second I did not know how to answer. I only said: - One, no one, and one hundred thousand. - What do you mean? - Well you're one, right? - Yes. - And for me you are my son, to Anna you're her biggest brother, to grandmother you are her grandson, for the teacher you are "Peter, that boy who disturbs the class", to Victor you are his friend, for each person you're someone-else. - (smiling) Yes. - But for you? Who are you to you? None of those, right? Each sees you in his own way which is different from how you see yourself. And so you are one, you are a hundred thousand of you to a hundred thousand people and none of those hundred of thousands of you is not you, the one you know you are. - (Laughing) See that if you explain, I understand?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Russell

    Luigi Pirandello (1867 - 1936) – Nobel Prize winning Italian playwright, novelist, poet and short story writer, perhaps best known for such outstanding plays as Six Characters in Search of an Author. “One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand” is so well-constructed, each section flowing smoothly into the next, it’s as if the author penned all one-hundred-sixty pages in a single, uninterrupted creative burst. Remarkably, it’s just the opposite: Luigi Pirandello worked on this short novel on and off o Luigi Pirandello (1867 - 1936) – Nobel Prize winning Italian playwright, novelist, poet and short story writer, perhaps best known for such outstanding plays as Six Characters in Search of an Author. “One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand” is so well-constructed, each section flowing smoothly into the next, it’s as if the author penned all one-hundred-sixty pages in a single, uninterrupted creative burst. Remarkably, it’s just the opposite: Luigi Pirandello worked on this short novel on and off over the course of fifteen years, beginning at age forty-two and ending at age fifty-seven. And it isn’t as if Pirandello ordinarily worked at a methodically slow pace. Hardly. His output is phenomenal – during those same fifteen years, at the peak of his creative powers, he wrote hundreds of short stories as well as dozens of plays. The fifteen years to complete this novel speaks to how much care, attention and reflection Pirandello gave the subject, his lifelong preoccupation: the nature of identity. Ah, the nature of identity. Do you reflect on the fact that you experience you from the inside and other people experience you from the outside? That’s right, the outside, as in how you look, how you speak and how you act. Or, stated slightly another way, your looks, speech and action independent of your inner thoughts and feelings. There’s just one and only one person blocked from experiencing you from the outside - you yourself. Sad but true: you can’t stand apart and be an outsider to yourself. Does this bother you? Probably not or not all that much. Well, it certainly bothers the novel’s narrator, Vitangelo Moscarda, bothering and weighing on him to the point of obsession. Humor is laced throughout, right from the first page when at age twenty-eight Moscarda is informed by his dear wife that his nose tilts slightly to the right, quite the revelation since he has always been under the distinct impression he had, if not a handsome nose, then most certainly a decent nose. Reacting as if he were a dog and his wife just stepped on his tail, Moscarda spins around: “My nose tilts?!” Moscarda runs to the bathroom, slams the door and for the next hour scrutinize his face in the mirror. Later that very same day, when a friend pays a visit to discuss a specific matter that might involve him personally, Moscarda cuts him off midsentence and asks if he, in fact, is looking at his nose. So we have the first push leading to a progressively more rapid downhill slide, as Moscarda confesses: “This was the beginning of my sickness. The sickness that would quickly reduce me to conditions of spirit and body so wretched and desperate that I would surely have died of them or gone mad if I had not found in the sickness itself (as I will tell) the remedy that was to cure me of it.” True, we can’t stand outside ourselves but through the power of fiction, in one telling scene, Luigi Pirandello splits Moscarda right down the middle: a Moscarda sitting alone in his study and a Moscarda standing in the corner as objective outsider questioning, probing and pointing a sometimes ironic, sometimes accusing finger. We watch as both Moscardas take center stage in a short novelistic variation of his famous play, acting out their own “Two Characters in Search of an Identity,” as in, when we read: “Why do you go on believing the only reality is your reality, today’s, and you are amazed, and irritated, and you shout that your friend is mistaken, when, try as he may, poor thing, he will never be able to have, inside himself, poor thing, your same mood.” The fact that we humans construct our own identity as a builder builds a house, a construction that cannot be fully communicated to others, even one’s spouse or closest friends, begins to drive Moscarda berserk. And the obverse, how other people construct their own version of his identity for themselves is an unavoidable truth Moscarda refuses to accept, particularly the way his wife Dida has constructed his identity as Genge, her little Genge, a little, loveable fool. Ahhh . . . unacceptable! On top of this, how the two men running the bank his father founded, Quantorzo, the manager, and Firbo, the councilor, likewise think him a harmless fool. And the people in his small city? Since Moscarda benefits so directly and handsomely from the business of the bank, they think him a usurer. A usurer! Now he really has reason to be driven berserk. Throughout the first half of the book, Moscarda keeps his deep and unending inquiries into the nature of his own identity to himself, which is perfectly fine since, in truth, people don’t give a fig about his self-examination but simply want him to continue adhering to accepted social conventions, including acting with civility when dealing with business people in a business office. But there’s the rub: it’s this very conventional civility that has created all the unacceptable social identities of him formed by other people. Thus, Moscarda aims to put into practice his first experiment “in the destruction of Moscarda,” that is, he yearns to destroy the identity all those other people have of him as both fool and usurer. What follows when he pays a visit first to the office of the notary Stampa and then to his bank to confront Quantorzo and Firbo are two of the most hilarious scenes I’ve ever encountered in literature. Rather than saying anything more specific (you will have to read for yourself) just think of another example: a modern day business office with several dozen men and women reading files, answering phone calls, writing reports. Its midafternoon and one of their longtime coworkers revolts against his dull, uptight, establishmentarian identity – he makes his grand entrée wearing a full-length yellow leotard with bells on his ankles, proceeds to execute backward and frontward flips before dancing around the office tossing daffodils. Well, of course, you can think of acting in such a bizarre fashion and get away with it as long as you keep it to yourself and your imagination. However, if you actually perform such a stunt publicly just once - as we all know, one time is all it takes - you will immediately be labeled as mad, fired and perhaps even arrested. What is the nature of the self? Does your own construction of identity put you in a box? Do you recognize your authentic self in the roles you take on? Likewise, does the identity others form of you restrict your freedom? And how about society as a whole? Is the social construction of identity corrosive and even an invasion of privacy? Is to live a “normal” life in our modern world in any way dehumanizing? I am reminded of the novel “Nausea” by Jean-Paul Sartre as well as other existential fiction by such authors as Samuel Beckett, Franz Kafka, Bertolt Brecht and André Malraux. But with Luigi Pirandello’s novel, the story, existential to its core, is frequently laugh-out-loud funny, reminding me of “Twelfth Night” and that yellow stockinged prancing Malvolio. Thank you, Luigi. Highly, highly recommended.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mutasim Billah

    “The capacity for deluding ourselves that today's reality is the only true one, on the one hand, sustains us, but on the other, it plunges us into an endless void, because today's reality is destined to prove delusion for us tomorrow; and life doesn't conclude. It can't conclude. Tomorrow if it concludes, it's finished.” Let me go way back, some 8 years or whereabouts in the past. A younger Mutasim Billah is in a classroom where his English teacher is giving a valuable lesson in creative writin “The capacity for deluding ourselves that today's reality is the only true one, on the one hand, sustains us, but on the other, it plunges us into an endless void, because today's reality is destined to prove delusion for us tomorrow; and life doesn't conclude. It can't conclude. Tomorrow if it concludes, it's finished.” Let me go way back, some 8 years or whereabouts in the past. A younger Mutasim Billah is in a classroom where his English teacher is giving a valuable lesson in creative writing. He holds a page in front of the class and asks: "Say, is there writing on this page?" "Yes, sir!", the entire class chimes in. "But how is that! The page is empty!" The class is baffled. The students murmur, some adamantly believe that the teacher will change his mind and berate anyone who goes back on their word, so they voice their previous opinion louder. Others confusedly hold their opinions in check, in case the teacher proves them wrong. The teacher smiles, and then in one single movement shows us the other side of the paper, the one that was not facing us, but the one that was, until then, facing him. The page was empty. The teacher was right. Perspectives Why is perspective so elusive? In a world of differing perspectives, which are the absolute truths? Or is there anything known as absolute truth? Perspectivism falls among those philosophical views that give rise to more questions than answers, especially considering we never truly have a particular method of inquiry or a structural theory of knowledge. The view was first coined by Friedrich Nietzche. "In so far as the word "knowledge" has any meaning, the world is knowable; but it is interpretable otherwise, it has no meaning behind it, but countless meanings.—"Perspectivism." It is our needs that interpret the world; our drives and their For and Against. Every drive is a kind of lust to rule; each one has its perspective that it would like to compel all the other drives to accept as a norm." -Friedrich Nietzche in The Will to Power In essence, we never have a perfect perspective as we choose to interpret the world as we would best want to make peace with it. A husband who despises low-fat milk would still drive around way out of his regular trip back home to get his wife her desired beverage, only so that he gets to be in the right. And so, that becomes his norm, and the wife lives oblivious to the fact that he despises low-fat milk. Let me come back to this a bit later. Cooley's Looking-glass Self The above meme is a perfect example of looking-glass self. The social psychological concept of the looking-glass self describes the development of one's self and of one's identity through one's interpersonal interactions within the context of society. Charles Horton Cooley clarified that society is an interweaving and inter-working of mental selves. The looking-glass self comprises three main components. - We imagine how we must appear to others. - We imagine and react to what we feel their judgment of that appearance must be. - We develop our self through the judgments of others. Hmmm..... Fair enough! But where's the review? One, None and a Hundred Thousand is a 1926 novel by the Italian writer Luigi Pirandello. The novel had a rather long and difficult period of gestation. Pirandello began writing it in 1909. In an autobiographical letter, published in 1924, the author refers to this work as the "...bitterest of all, profoundly humoristic, about the decomposition of life: Moscarda one, no one and one hundred thousand." The pages of the unfinished novel remained on Pirandello's desk for years and he would occasionally take out extracts and insert them into other works only to return, later, to the novel in a sort of uninterrupted compositive circle. Finally finished, Uno, Nessuno e Centomila came out in episodes between December 1925 and June 1926 in the magazine Fiera Letteraria. The plot is built on three differing perspectives: One, the belief that our self is one and the only self that we know ourselves to be. A Hundred Thousand, meaning that we live a hundred thousand lives in the hundred thousand perspectives we come to face in the minds of the people in our lives, in turn giving rise to hundred thousand unique selves. None, signifying that none of these are really a true self and that nothing holds true to test in the end. The Story Vitangelo Moscarda's world falls into complete disarray when, one day, by an innocent question, he's confronted with the reality that he isn't exactly of the same image he thought he had. Meaning, he looked different from his own mind-view of himself. And hence, Moscarda was to move into this never-ending soul-searching journey where he tries to find "the true self", the one who he believes is his original persona. Moscarda chooses to expose his true self by behaving contrary to his usual self in everyday aspects of his life, breaking down the fake images of Moscarda built to please the people in his life, exposing his true, darker desires. This, leads him to a journey towards madness and rediscovery. I really enjoyed this book as I've always had a profound interest in the underlying themes in the story. I'd definitely recommend it if you're into existentialist literature and enjoy absurdist fiction.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Gamboa

    This is one of those books that blows you away. Why? Well, Mr. Pirandello's novel is one of those that will make you doubt about who you are for years. This is the book I would pick up if I were asked to choose the one novel which has taught me the most about life. This novel is not an easy read. However, whenever you find yourself not understanding, there will be something further ahead telling you that you are on the right track. Only by deconstructing yourself, you will be able to open your m This is one of those books that blows you away. Why? Well, Mr. Pirandello's novel is one of those that will make you doubt about who you are for years. This is the book I would pick up if I were asked to choose the one novel which has taught me the most about life. This novel is not an easy read. However, whenever you find yourself not understanding, there will be something further ahead telling you that you are on the right track. Only by deconstructing yourself, you will be able to open your mind and learn about yourself. Keep this in mind; otherwise, frustration won't let you enjoy and appreciate this novel. Am I who I really think I am? Nope, that is just one of the “one hundred thousand” sides that make up the whole of you. These sides are the many versions of yourself, which can only be seen by the people around you. You can only see your “own” version of yourself, but is this your true self? “No one” really knows, not even you. After reading this book, all I was sure of is that nothing in this world is objective. Life is just an illusion. An illusion that changes with time as our perceptions sharpen up or as we allow our dogmas and beliefs to be flexible in a world where absolutely nothing is stiff or one sided.

  5. 4 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    This philosophical book was first published in 1926 and was written by Italian novelist Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936). Pirandello won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1934 ""for his bold and ingenious revival of dramatic and scenic art." The story is about a man Vitangelo Moscarda who one day, was told my his wife that his nose leans to the right. Moscarda does not notice it before as he thinks that his nose was straight (this image of himself seems to be what "one" means in the title). However, This philosophical book was first published in 1926 and was written by Italian novelist Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936). Pirandello won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1934 ""for his bold and ingenious revival of dramatic and scenic art." The story is about a man Vitangelo Moscarda who one day, was told my his wife that his nose leans to the right. Moscarda does not notice it before as he thinks that his nose was straight (this image of himself seems to be what "one" means in the title). However, the comment that his nose leans to the right makes him realize that his perception of himself may not necessarily be accurate (the "no one" in the title). Lastly in the story, Moscarda realizes that many people may have their own perceptions about himself - the son of a usurer who used to own a bank (the "one hundred thousand" in the title). Pirandello's favorite theme of the relativity of perception and the fragmentation of reality into incomprehensible pieces is his philosophical core. Closely connected to it is the reflection on language and the impossibility of objective and satisfactory communication between speakers, due to the fact that we all charge words with our own meanings. As Moscarda obsesses over the painful realization that he is only what others make of him, he tries to subvert others' reality by reinventing himself as a new, different Moscarda. But his attempt to possess his own self is in vain, and his only way out is self-denial, starting with a refusal to look at mirrors. Overall, this is a nice philosophical book but sometime boring as the plot is so thin and the characters seem to be like distant people no one can identify easily with.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Chrissie

    Vitangelo Moscarda is the central character of this story. He is Italian, married and twenty-eight. He has no kids. Nobody disputes these facts. Everything else about his personality--his goals, motivations and manner of being—may be and is up for debate! The book is a novel but reads as a philosophical treatise. Its theme is who we really are. Are we most accurately how we view ourselves or how others view us? Can an accurate representation be drawn by any? A quick glance in a mirror shows one Vitangelo Moscarda is the central character of this story. He is Italian, married and twenty-eight. He has no kids. Nobody disputes these facts. Everything else about his personality--his goals, motivations and manner of being—may be and is up for debate! The book is a novel but reads as a philosophical treatise. Its theme is who we really are. Are we most accurately how we view ourselves or how others view us? Can an accurate representation be drawn by any? A quick glance in a mirror shows one person, but a glance a few seconds later shows another. What is seen is influenced by the person observing and by ever-changing shifts in emotions, thoughts, happenings and movements. Nothing stays still. Everything changes. All that influences how a person is perceived is legion. Is there one correct true version of a person or does it not exist or are there many? See the title. Moscarda wants to understand who he is. He analyzes the question from a zillion different perspectives. He talks to us and tells us his thoughts over and over again. Then he attempts to change how others see him, but his thoughts and words continue. He is repetitive and the analysis becomes repetitive. What starts as an interesting question is pushed to extreme. Does it sound like I have not enjoyed the book? I have. I have given it two stars, which means it was OK, but could have been better. It has provided me with mental gymnastics. The questions posed are interesting, and the author, in the guise of Moscarda, stretches the central theme to other topics worthy of consideration too, for example the ability of flora and fauna to communicate. What we know today about animals’ thought processes and the complicated interdependence between flora and microbes show that some of the ideas expressed in the book were ahead of their time. The author, Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936), won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1934. The book was published in 1933. It is considered a classic, and I had never heard of the guy. I had to give it a try. His writing has a particular style that is fun to be acquainted with. You could say the thread of thoughts are interminably long-winded. Or you can say they intrigue and twirl, revolving in diminishing and expanding circles, one minute tying your thoughts into knots, in the next making you laugh. Just as the book says, none of us sees anything the same. This is a theme all of us have talked about on GR, isn’t it? In extension, if none of us see things in the same way, how can we possibly know who we truly are? Except, except…….with time you can draw some conclusions about a person, based on what they say and think and do. You see I cannot stop thinking about the questions posed in the book! Chris Mattews narrates the audiobook. He does a good job. What is said is clearly spoken, and it Is not hard to follow. In the beginning he speaks a little bit fast. You cannot listen to the book for long stretches. Your head gets tied into a knot, not because of how it is read but because of its philosophical content. It is interesting, does give food for thought, but is too exaggerated and repetitive.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Oakes

    First, I have to thank Eva at Spurl Editions for my copy of this book. I bought a copy many years ago, shelved it, and forgot about it. Now, after finally reading it, it's become a book that is so disturbing (and so well done) that it will probably never get out from underneath my skin. I loved every second of it. Just briefly, One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand is a novel which, in the author's words, "deals with the disintegration of the personality. " It is a very dark read, in which a man First, I have to thank Eva at Spurl Editions for my copy of this book. I bought a copy many years ago, shelved it, and forgot about it. Now, after finally reading it, it's become a book that is so disturbing (and so well done) that it will probably never get out from underneath my skin. I loved every second of it. Just briefly, One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand is a novel which, in the author's words, "deals with the disintegration of the personality. " It is a very dark read, in which a man reaches a most extreme "cure" for the "sickness" that all started with a conversation between a husband and wife about his nose. Once his eyes have been opened to the awareness that his nose tilts, twenty-eight year old Vitangelo Moscarda finds himself in a serious existential crisis. While that may seem to be a somewhat absurd premise, the story that develops from that point is anything but, as Moscardo's sense of reality and self awareness veers off course and he becomes determined to untangle his true self from all of the others that have been constructed for him. I love books which explore perceptions of self and others and the delusions inherent within (my true raison d'être for reading), but One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand is unlike anything I've read in this vein before, presenting a portrait of a fragmented and torn man whose understanding of his own misperceptions of his self set him on a path that takes him smack into an "endless void." It is frightening on one hand, comic on the other, and all the while we are caught in Moscarda's head as he undergoes his "sickness", in which was found the "remedy" that would eventually cure him. It's extreme, and for me, a bit sad, to say the least. I won't lie to you -- the book is challenging, philosophical in nature, and in my opinion, it requires the reader to stop and think along the way and even more so at the end of this story, which makes it right up my reading alley. One more thing: for anyone who might wonder how a book written in 1926 is relevant to our times, I'll refer you to social media, an entire universe of constructed selves and constructed realities. more here at my reading journal (sans spoilers): https://www.readingavidly.com/2018/10...

  8. 5 out of 5

    jeremy

    known primarily as a playwright, luigi pirandello also wrote novels, short stories, and poetry. the italian dramatist was awarded the 1934 nobel prize for literature, two years before his lonely death. one, no one, and one hundred thousand (uno, nessuno, e centomila) took pirandello well over a decade to complete and may well be his most popular novel. one, no one, and one hundred thousand is a thoughtful, meditative work on the nature of identity, self-perception, and madness. vitangelo moscard known primarily as a playwright, luigi pirandello also wrote novels, short stories, and poetry. the italian dramatist was awarded the 1934 nobel prize for literature, two years before his lonely death. one, no one, and one hundred thousand (uno, nessuno, e centomila) took pirandello well over a decade to complete and may well be his most popular novel. one, no one, and one hundred thousand is a thoughtful, meditative work on the nature of identity, self-perception, and madness. vitangelo moscarda, the twenty-something son of a banker, becomes increasingly unbalanced after a rather innocuous conversation with his wife leads him to a realm of neurotic self-criticism and anguished hyperawareness. his behavior becomes perceptibly more erratic as he strives to make sense of his place in the world relative to how he sees himself and how he is seen by others. vitangelo (gengè) could be a literary kinsman of fernando pessoa's bernardo soares, as they share much in the way of temperament and insight. pirandello's writing is absorbing and his philosophical ideas adroitly conveyed. as vitangelo's reality becomes ever more fractured, pirandello's prose reflects this increasing anxiety to great effect. moments of great humor break up the uneasiness that characterizes so much of vitangelo's interactions. one, no one, and one hundred thousand, translated with an introduction by the great william weaver, is a stimulating work of fiction carefully constructed and expertly executed. be sincere: it never crossed your mind to want to see yourselves live. you pay attention to living for yourselves, and rightly, with no thought of what in the meanwhile you might be for the others; not because you care nothing about the opinion of others: on the contrary, you care a great deal; but because you live in the blissful illusion that the others, outside, must picture you to themselves as you picture yourself.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This book had me so captured that I even brought it up while on a date. I just started rambling on about Pirandello’s masks and the infinite number of them, pointing out that the image you have of yourself is never the same to someone else. “If you were to try and see what others saw, it would only drive you mad. And what would it mean to know yourself if you'd be the only one who could share this knowledge? No one else could grasp the concept, even if they tried. And what sense would it all mak This book had me so captured that I even brought it up while on a date. I just started rambling on about Pirandello’s masks and the infinite number of them, pointing out that the image you have of yourself is never the same to someone else. “If you were to try and see what others saw, it would only drive you mad. And what would it mean to know yourself if you'd be the only one who could share this knowledge? No one else could grasp the concept, even if they tried. And what sense would it all make since, as the author firmly believes, 'conoscersi è morire'?” “If we were to go even further,” – I continued, as the person sitting opposite of me stared in puzzlement, probably thinking that all he wanted was to enjoy his medium rare steak in the presence of a moderately boring doll, whom he hoped would flatter him while he chewed on the dead animal – “we could also join the author in expressing his belief that there is, in fact, no individual at all underneath the masks. If we were to crack them open, take them all off one by one, we might find ourselves with nothing. There might be no ‘real self’, and people could turn out to be nothing but empty shells that need masks to not only present themselves to the world, but fill their otherwise lifeless husks with meaning.” Needless to say, he just looked at me all weirded out, fumbling that I “seriously needed to sort my shit out”. Meanwhile I just stood there, staring at this sad person whose appetite I had most probably just ruined. Thinking to myself that I should’ve gone with something like: “No, please, let’s talk about your car some more. Yes, of course I know what type of car it is. It’s only my favorite thing to ride in!”, I just sized this sad, silly person, who was convinced (almost certain) that he was someone, whilst being not one, but many, a hundred thousands, and also no one. Obviously, I’m not seeing the deluded fellow again. Totally worth it, though. Would recommend this to anyone in need of ruining a romantic moment and curious to know what a nervous breakdown feels like. All in all, this was a fun read!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rami Hamze

    Moscarda's life crumbled in a sec when his wife casually mentions his tilted nose that he never noticed. he looks in the mirror and sees all the imperfections in his face, now magnified. He panics and starts questioning if this is how people see him and if this body resembles the real him. The protagonist then seeks his solitude in order to figure out which ONE he is: him as seen by self or the other 100 thousand selves that people see in him, or none of the above... it was then that he looked i Moscarda's life crumbled in a sec when his wife casually mentions his tilted nose that he never noticed. he looks in the mirror and sees all the imperfections in his face, now magnified. He panics and starts questioning if this is how people see him and if this body resembles the real him. The protagonist then seeks his solitude in order to figure out which ONE he is: him as seen by self or the other 100 thousand selves that people see in him, or none of the above... it was then that he looked in the mirror at his first laugh as a madman. Genius idea by Luigi Pirandello, very philosophical and existential to my liking. Having said all the positive things above, the elements of a novel were very weak. i understand the focus is on the main theme but a more thought through plot would have better held the ideas together and kept the reader in some sort of anticipation. Besides, over-excessive repetition (excuse my redundancy). The book starts very promising but before even halfway, you realise that the author is going in circles around the same single topic with no new insights, events nor themes... dissapointing on that front. Confused, should i give a 3 or 4 stars? will go for 4 stars for the memorable topic that will stick for a long time. quote: "Solitude (here: loneliness) is never with you, it is always without you, and possible only with the presence of an alien self or place... you are the outsider there" ******************************************* A friend asked me: did the book change your perception of how you view yourself and what is your current perception? Are we made up of how we view ourselves or through others eyes or none of the above? and i answered: The book is brilliant but it didnt change my perception. Humbly, this is my playground genre and i have read many books on existential philosophy, existential psychotherapy and psychoanalysis to ask these question and form a view pre-reading it. here is my view: The question touches on two major areas: Identity and Existentialism 1- Identity: what defines it? is it inwards i.e. we are what we think and believe or outwards i.e. how people perceive us?... well, i believe it is both, maybe at 70%-30%. identity reflects set of facts (name, birth date, etc.) and experiences that we have been through so it is shaped by both inward and outward... i say 70% inwards because identity is a subjective thing, even if i have a misperception of myself, i still have alignment of my identity to perception (even if not accurate). Anyway topic reminds me of a quote by Saramo in Blindness: "inside us there is something that has no name, that something is what we really are" 2- Existentialism: all of the above rationale becomes irrelevant if you believe that life is absurd and if you are skeptical if we do exist/ we are real. obviously, my opinion is that: we think therefore we THINK we are... it is all illusion, we could be a projection of a hologram or inside a matrix. what can I do, the only way is to play the game: life. that is the only thing we are can fathom just like a soldier in a virtual game. as for the author: "i no longer look myself in the mirror, it never even occurs to me to want to know what has happened to my face and to my appearance" "No name. no memory today of yesterday's name; of today's name tomorrow. if the name is the thing; if a name in us is the concept of every thing placed outside of us... well then, let each carve this name that i bore among men... and then leave it in peace. i am alive and i do for the dead. for those who have concluded I am alive and i do not conclude. life does not conclude, and life knows nothing of names"

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Scott

    A pugilist existentialism wrapped inside this short fiction novel rides the edge of philosophy and insanity. This novel seems ahead of its time whereas existentialism in fiction wouldn’t become wide spread until at least a decade after the publication of this novel. The author explores the ideas of perception and reality through an attempt to remove an identity. Moscarda is a prominent man in his Italian Villa. His father worked and founded a bank that is the bedrock of the community. However, i A pugilist existentialism wrapped inside this short fiction novel rides the edge of philosophy and insanity. This novel seems ahead of its time whereas existentialism in fiction wouldn’t become wide spread until at least a decade after the publication of this novel. The author explores the ideas of perception and reality through an attempt to remove an identity. Moscarda is a prominent man in his Italian Villa. His father worked and founded a bank that is the bedrock of the community. However, it only takes a comment by his wife to pull the string of his unraveling. The reader then bears witness to Moscarda’s often on-sided conversation on identity. We cannot really judge who we are. As we stare at ourselves in the mirror, we cannot see that person. Furthermore, no one person can see that person either. He is, in a way, a stranger to himself and to others. There are only versions of this person. The person we see ourselves and the way others see us, thus the title One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand. Moscardo tries to strip his identity from others so he can truly see himself. He threatens much of the town in the process and it leads to him being shot. This aspect further explores how everyone relies on that identity and his predictable behavior. In the end he finds an identity that’s very similar to a monk, stripped of everything. The exploration can also be viewed as someone with too much pressure on himself. It seems the author went through a series of crises while writing the book. Perhaps it is also an exploration of how to lift off the burden society places on an individual. These kinds of concepts resonate even today where people can carefully sculpt an online existence. It can also explain how we can get into silly arguments on the internet when someone upsets our mental cart. It’s also interesting how we can perceive people online, but sees them differently in person. This is definitely a cerebral book with mostly philosophical type examples until actions near the end of the book drive a story testing the theories. It’s a short but very intense kind of book. Favorite Parts: ...when seeing people's eyes on me, I felt as if I were being subjected to a horrible oppression, thinking that all those eyes gave me an image that surely wasn't the one I knew myself but another that I could neither know nor prevent; merely saying mad things was nothing: I felt like doing them, doing mad things: rolling over in the streets or flying along in dance-steps, winking here, sticking out my tongue and making a face there..." p. 81 "...in this oppression. Each wants to impose on the others that world he has inside himself, as if it were outside, to make all see it his way, and the others cannot be in it except as he sees them." p. 85

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kostas Makedos

    Excellent essay regarding the topics of of ego and our thoughts of how it reflects on others.

  13. 5 out of 5

    March

    A book about being gripped with, indeed swept by, the idea of the gulf between the way you perceive yourself, the way(s) others see you, and (if that can be asserted anyhow), the way you truly, objectively are. Hence the one, one hundred thousand, and no one, respectively (if I got it right). After a long period during which the first-person protagonist is working out and getting his head around this notion, he reaches the conclusion that it is impossible, or rather, useless, to try to conform t A book about being gripped with, indeed swept by, the idea of the gulf between the way you perceive yourself, the way(s) others see you, and (if that can be asserted anyhow), the way you truly, objectively are. Hence the one, one hundred thousand, and no one, respectively (if I got it right). After a long period during which the first-person protagonist is working out and getting his head around this notion, he reaches the conclusion that it is impossible, or rather, useless, to try to conform to this or that image that (he thinks) different people might have of himself, because ultimately, the image never coincides with how he perceives himself, nor with how yet another and yet another person perceives him. We can never get inside the other one's head and find out, for real, what they think or feel, is the main premise, reiterated time and time again. This realization - what to me, though, seemed like a standard enough idea - takes such deep roots in the protagonist's mind, and so shakes his existence, that he decides to do away with all these, ultimately false, identities that the outside world, including his closest people, may pin on him, and shed them to the very basic, naked substance that would remain if he did so. What this substance is, if we discard the perceptions of ourselves by others, or what we perceive ourselves of ourselves involves a process of exploration that is a turbulent, a violent one, culminating, toward the end of the book, into a major rupture, followed by a transition to a calm state of being, of which it's better to read yourself and ponder. In this whole journey, now that I'm reflecting back on it, I think somehow love comes to play an important role - could it be that at a certain point, what Pirandello might have wanted to convey is that true love is perhaps the only way through which a true glimpse of the bare substance can be achieved, like a spark of electricity flying from one's conscience to another's, so that the other one knows the way you feel, knows you, really, truly. A decent book, though not exactly "interesting," in the sense that it keeps you turning pages or holding your breath for more, at least not for me. I also found the first part - in which Pirandello builds up his idea of the incongruousness among diverse perceptions and of the impossibility of relating - too long and even tedious. I kept thinking - ok, ok, Pirandello, I got it - your meaning is not my meaning, the I that I see is not the me that you perceive, or the person that a third one might perceive. So let's move on beyond this premise. This feeling of slight impatience with the first part might have been somewhat exasperated also by Pirandello's writing style, whereby he addresses the reader directly, asking him or her to see what he means, over and over again: Consider this carefully. Wasn't my wife kissing, on my lips, a man who was not I? On my lips? No! Mine, indeed! To what extent were they mine, truly mine the lips she was kissing? Finally, should I venture with this - ok, so I got the feeling that story gradually steered toward a development that reminded me a bit of what I've read and watched about the precepts of Hinduism and Buddhism - that a major cornerstone on the way to liberation is the ability to give up attachments - all attachments, to all earthly pleasures, to all the people close to you, and so on. There seemed to me to be a taste of that idea toward the end of the book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marloes Baren

    Reading the blurb on the cover I wondered how this book would compare to Gogol's short story 'The Nose'. Ofcourse in both stories the protagonist's nose plays a central role in an event leading to a chain of consequences. In The Nose because it embarks on a life of its own. In Pirandello's story as the protagonist's wife points out to him that his nose is crooked; something he never realized before and this realization sparks a devastating identity crisis. A superficial and certainly insufficient Reading the blurb on the cover I wondered how this book would compare to Gogol's short story 'The Nose'. Ofcourse in both stories the protagonist's nose plays a central role in an event leading to a chain of consequences. In The Nose because it embarks on a life of its own. In Pirandello's story as the protagonist's wife points out to him that his nose is crooked; something he never realized before and this realization sparks a devastating identity crisis. A superficial and certainly insufficient analysis does indicate similarities in theme, such as social class and (self) identity. Both incorporate an element of absurdity, yet Pirandello adresses something that perhaps is more profoundly human, or psychological, and less attached to societal and cultural norms, even though in this regard the two stories can hardly be argued to be in complete opposition. While at some points in the book I felt the author used a bit too many words to make a point, without it adding much from an aesthetics point of view, or perhaps even drawing away from that, I found it to be an intriguing book and it made me curious to read more works by the author.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gazelle

    One, No One and One Hundred Thousand is about a guy who starts to question his existence and his place in life after being mentioned of an unimportant flaw on his face by his wife. Pirandello's bitterest book (by his own comment) faces you with some kind of paradoxical reality that can even be disturbing in some parts, but his humorous language doesn't let you down. I don't know if Italo Svevo was under the influence of the language of this book when he wrote his amazing novel Zeno's conscience One, No One and One Hundred Thousand is about a guy who starts to question his existence and his place in life after being mentioned of an unimportant flaw on his face by his wife. Pirandello's bitterest book (by his own comment) faces you with some kind of paradoxical reality that can even be disturbing in some parts, but his humorous language doesn't let you down. I don't know if Italo Svevo was under the influence of the language of this book when he wrote his amazing novel Zeno's conscience but I kept reminding of it when reading Pierandello's.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Hakan

    The plot didn't captivate me much, even had hard time in finishing it. But some parts were amazing. In particular the sections on the human destruction of the nature, stark differences between the life in the cities and in countryside. And this, in a novel written in 1920s. I wonder what he would have written if he had lived today! Brief but seering criticism of the peoples' general expression of religious beliefs was also impressive.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rick

    Fresh and urgent new translation of Pirandello's classic Luigi Pirandello's tale of how a man's life takes a very different turn following a throwaway comment of his wife, regarding the shape of his nose is in turns funny, poignant, wry and unnerving. It is given fresh impetus by Kevan Houser's uncluttered, clever translation.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sara Morelli

    [DISCLAIMER: I hate reviewing classics, I suck at it, there is really nothing I can say about them that is objective or relevant, so you can skip this.] There is no denying that this book is brilliant. Pirandello is brilliant. No doubt here. Is it something that I would recommend to anyone, though? Not a chance. It's a rather complex story disguised as a simple book, mainly because there is nothing really going on and it's also very short - and thank God for that because I don't know if my brain [DISCLAIMER: I hate reviewing classics, I suck at it, there is really nothing I can say about them that is objective or relevant, so you can skip this.] There is no denying that this book is brilliant. Pirandello is brilliant. No doubt here. Is it something that I would recommend to anyone, though? Not a chance. It's a rather complex story disguised as a simple book, mainly because there is nothing really going on and it's also very short - and thank God for that because I don't know if my brain could handle anything longer than this. This is the type of books that for me fall under the category of "intensive, mind-boggling gymnastics". If you get into this, thinking that you can casually read without paying it too much attention, think again because you would not appreciate it to fullest. You would probably find it tedious. This book is random, is weird, is all around the place, and it may not seem like it makes any sense at all, BUT for me, it was just genius. I do personally enjoy the exasperation of topics regarding identity and psychological extravaganza because that's how my brain works pretty much on a daily basis. This book is a neurotic freak-show. If you're not into that, just stir away. The reason why it didn't warrant the fifth star, is that it was really the worst timing for me to pick up this book. This week I just had so much going on in the academical life that I simply could not invest my full attention to this book. I just kept getting distracted while reading, often having to reread passages and such, so I feel like I was prevented from fully enjoying the experience. I'll definitely reread this at some point because it truly is brilliant.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Blair

    This is in some ways the ultimate novel of the mind, as the narrator delves into his own identity, thrown into an existential crisis by a throwaway observation by his wife about the shape of his nose, something he'd never noticed about himself before. He realises his self-perception differs from the perception of others, but takes it further, suggesting that he is not the same person that his wife sees and there are multiple versions of him. As you'd expect from Pirandello it's about reality and This is in some ways the ultimate novel of the mind, as the narrator delves into his own identity, thrown into an existential crisis by a throwaway observation by his wife about the shape of his nose, something he'd never noticed about himself before. He realises his self-perception differs from the perception of others, but takes it further, suggesting that he is not the same person that his wife sees and there are multiple versions of him. As you'd expect from Pirandello it's about reality and identity and madness. The environment is barely sketched, although there are occasional very lyrical descriptions of interiors and long passages are purely internal.

  20. 5 out of 5

    July Cirelli

    I guess it should also be 4 stars. In any case, all that this book has left me is confusion and inner void. It makes you question about yourself but to me in a pointless way. I understand the protagonist point but following his lead would bring to a meaningless life. It's fascinating but at the same time disturbing. I appreciated how in the end the storyline got more vivid and active. This book let me realise how much more I appreciate adventurous books.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kasiem Saeed

    Disappointing. I went into this book with high expectations because of the reviews I read since I had realized the same thing the main character did in the begging of the book a couple years back. I though that this book might be able to put my thoughts into word but no. Quite boring, not much happened. Bad ending.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Arvenig

    I had to read this for school as well, but I actually really enjoyed it!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Schreiber

    I read the new re-issue from Spurl Editions. A strange and pessimistic chronicle of one man's dissolution of character. I related to his keen existential insights. How can we ever know ourselves? My review can be found here: https://roughghosts.com/2018/11/10/a-...

  24. 5 out of 5

    David

    This book delves into Moscarda's metaphysical realization that how you personally perceive your "self" is not necessarily how others see you; therefore, even if indirectly and unwillingly, everyone projects multiple exterior personalities. Fueled by this crisis he begins a quest to eradicate all parallel perceptions of himself and discover his true identity. Tragically, however, he concludes that you can never see your true self (in the mirror for instance) because direct observation destroys au This book delves into Moscarda's metaphysical realization that how you personally perceive your "self" is not necessarily how others see you; therefore, even if indirectly and unwillingly, everyone projects multiple exterior personalities. Fueled by this crisis he begins a quest to eradicate all parallel perceptions of himself and discover his true identity. Tragically, however, he concludes that you can never see your true self (in the mirror for instance) because direct observation destroys authenticity. Throughout his narration Moscarda argues that anyone who truly contemplates these premises will, like himself, fall into madness. Interspersed between all philosophical meanderings, the quasi-essay is complemented with comical episodes: from (i) his wife telling him that his nose is slightly crooked suddenly igniting his descent into insanity, to (ii) Moscarda running in front of a mirror trying to capture his true self off guard. [context of the excerpt: you are receiving a friend at your place, but a new one arrives; you feel discomfort and ask the first friend to leave] "Reflect a moment. There was nothing about your old friend, in himself, to justify your sending him away when the new one came. The two of them [...] might have gone on and had a pleasant little chat for a half-hour or so, in your parlor, with no embarrassment to either of them. It was you who felt the embarrassment [...]. Why was this? Why it was because, upon the arrival of your new friend, you suddenly discovered that you were two separate persons [... and you had to ...] send one of them away at a certain point. Not your old friend, no; it was yourself that you sent away, the self that you are to your old friend, for the reason that you felt that self to be altogether different from the one that you are, or would like to be, to your new friend."

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sibyl

    The theme of this book is the multiplicity of the identities of the human beings, the masks . Nietzsche’s idea was that personal identity is consciousness, and this is what Pirandello wants to say in this book, his last novel which took him many years to complete. The protagonist of this book will try to get rid of all the masks , the one he believes to have made himself (one) and those that are imposed by others (one hundred thousand ). To succeed he will need to get conscious, get rid of all th The theme of this book is the multiplicity of the identities of the human beings, the masks . Nietzsche’s idea was that personal identity is consciousness, and this is what Pirandello wants to say in this book, his last novel which took him many years to complete. The protagonist of this book will try to get rid of all the masks , the one he believes to have made himself (one) and those that are imposed by others (one hundred thousand ). To succeed he will need to get conscious, get rid of all the identities, and become "no one", nobody. Identity is however the necessary condition for a living in society, and hence the protagonist gets its way only in a free zone, where the social rules do not matter, and the logical reasoning is suspended : the loony bin. “One, no one and one hundred thousand” is often considered the masterpiece of Pirandello; it is complex and requires a careful reading, a very elastic concept of identity and the ability to extrapolate the key messages from long monologues and reflections that are not always linear. It is the great work of a complex and culturally rich personality, almost the summary of his studies about self, identity and personality as they were theorized at the beginning of last century. Personally I prefer the simpler works of Pirandello, with more humor and less hidden messages. It is not a book for those who love modern fiction .

  26. 5 out of 5

    Daryll

    Hard to get through, boring, repetitive, and overly philosophical for me.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    There's a whole realm of authors who have a way of displacing identity in weird and abstract ways. Pirandello can be classed with Maurice Blanchot, Paul Auster, and others in this category. They have a way of getting under your skin. Pirandello, of "Six Characters" fame, starts the dissolution of the protagonist's self, through a somewhat comic, Gogol-ish conceit, and it gets weirder an d weirder from there. While it can be maddening and abstruse at times, it's ultimately quite rewarding.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Andry

    Please....just because a famous author wrote it, this doesn't mean the book is a good one. The same concept repeated a thousand times: I kept on thinking "yes yes I understood what you mean, stop saying it again and again" Ma per piacere, una media di 4 stelle....lo stesso concetto ripetuto 40'000 volte. Bastavano 10 pagine per spiegarlo e bon, invece un intero libro inutile e noioso.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Joel

    Have you ever been around a madman? It is unpleasant, disturbing, frustrating and in the end wholly futile. I much prefer a congress with the zoo animals or my neighbor’s dogs at the dog park than to seek any meaningful interaction with the insane. Yet this is what the world wishes for us these days – the glorification of the random, the meaningless. The out of place. A toilet bowl nailed to a two-by-four, this is what post-modernism has given us in the name of art and beauty. In its efforts to Have you ever been around a madman? It is unpleasant, disturbing, frustrating and in the end wholly futile. I much prefer a congress with the zoo animals or my neighbor’s dogs at the dog park than to seek any meaningful interaction with the insane. Yet this is what the world wishes for us these days – the glorification of the random, the meaningless. The out of place. A toilet bowl nailed to a two-by-four, this is what post-modernism has given us in the name of art and beauty. In its efforts to destroy our creator who made all things in His image and under His perfect order we have been given instead Dionysus, Nietzsche’s God of drunkenness and ritualized insanity. So why – why does our post-modern world revel in, glory in the insane? Why do we choose the path of Friedrich Nietzsche instead of G.K. Chesterton? Why do we give effort of inquiry to the baffling works of Piet Mondrian while eschewing Ivan Shishkin as ‘passé’ – the tired trivialities of a bygone era. “A beautiful painting? What fun is there in that?” I recently finished “One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand” by Luigi Pirandello. To be fair, I have not read anything else by this Nobel-prize winning playwright and novelist. So perhaps I should not have started with “One, No One” (I certainly will endeavor to pick up one of his plays soonest, there might be something there). However, “One, No One” was gibberish. Oh, I have gone to Goodreads and the literary critics to attempt to ascertain what others see in this – one of those books which would never have been published had the author not previously been made famous by other works. And I have found many erudite reviews and analyses attempting to sound cultured and advanced, muddying the waters of their shallow minds in the desperate attempt to appear deep, profound; post-modern all in our sad world where beauty and lyricism and the evocations of greatness can no longer find a place. The fact is, this novel is non-sense. The plot, simple and un-compelling, begins when the protagonist’s (Vitangelo Moscarda) wife tells him his nose is slightly crooked, listing to the right. This discharges in the unstable mind of Moscarda a series of breakdowns as he challenges his own reality and wonders who he is and who others are and how we can really know, leading him to mistakes and evils and onward to his eventual insanity and his wife’s trial (and acquittal, due, in Moscarda’s own words, to his own insanity). The reviewers seem to think there is something meaningful in a short story about the descent into delirium. But the ‘theater of the absurd’ taken to this degree only causes befuddlement – like Albert Camus’ joyful existentialism fells the trees in order to pave the way for Nietzsche’s despotic nihilism. But back to my question: why? Why would humanity do this to itself? Is there not enough of a mess in human life, that we would spend our time and our money seeking out more of it? Why would we go to the unschooled ignoramus under the tree to seek out common ‘wisdom’ which comes from the unstudied; or traverse the distance to the madhouse where the inmates are doing ‘art therapy’ to obtain (for a fee) the works of their troubled minds? It could be said (though I’m sure many will fight me on this) that the point of modernity was the search for unity and coherence of beauty (in a world emerging from a millennium of sadness and darkness and violence) – a sense of comfort in its wholeness and universality; while post-modernism seeks only a racket, the chaos and mayhem into which everybody fits, a table around which all can find a place even if they have no right to be there. There is a scene in Ayn Rand’s novel “The Fountainhead” in which she describes an artist guild founded by the main antagonist Ellsworth Toohey. The purpose of the guild is to “muddy the waters” to present ugliness as beauty, dissonance as lyricism, evil as morality, and eventually insanity as clarity. Toohey’s own weakness and sense of inadequacy cause him to demean the lines of beauty in order that through the fuzzy thinking everybody – even the talentless – might be called great. That was his final revenge on the world. I think Toohey would laugh at “One, No One”. But it is not funny; for if he wins, then how will we ever strive for perfection in perfect creation again…? – if it is imperfection we seek, we certainly shall find it, for it is everywhere!! If the commonplace is what we glorify, who then will choose the harder path of beauty and forms? And if we lose our ability and our right to seek cohesion in the extraordinary, then the weak who want to prey on our minds in order to lay low our buildings and destroy our laws will find it easy to enslave our wives and put our children to work for their pleasure. How do I know this? I see it every day in the world around me. G.K Chesterton’s dying words are made all the more prescient today: “The issue is now quite clear. It is between light and darkness and everyone must choose his side.” What side do you choose?

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brittany Picardi Ruiz

    In a world obsessed with identity politics, there seems to be a considerable currency placed on defining and understanding oneself in relation to others. To be authentic. But implicit in claiming, or rejecting any identity, is the assumption that we can know our own selves, and have that knowledge accepted and validated by others. Yet what if that is impossible? What if the image we have of ourselves is at once entirely singular, unverifiable, and at odds to some degree, great or small, with the In a world obsessed with identity politics, there seems to be a considerable currency placed on defining and understanding oneself in relation to others. To be authentic. But implicit in claiming, or rejecting any identity, is the assumption that we can know our own selves, and have that knowledge accepted and validated by others. Yet what if that is impossible? What if the image we have of ourselves is at once entirely singular, unverifiable, and at odds to some degree, great or small, with the multitude of images everyone else has of us? This is the crux that befalls the protagonist of Italian writer Luigi Pirandello’s classic 1926 novel One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand. The premise is simple, if, at first, a little contrived. The narrator, Vitangelo Moscarda, is a proud but unambitious twenty-eight year-old, heir to a considerable fortune, who is content to allow others to manage the bank his father founded while he enjoys a life of self-satisfied leisure in the town of Richieri. One day, while he is examining his face in the mirror, his wife offers an unexpected observation about his nose—it tilts to the right—and, wounded by this previously unnoticed imperfection, he quickly finds more to fault: his eyebrows look like two circumflex marks ^^, and his ears are poorly placed, and examination of his hands and legs revel further defects. An innocent remark thus sets off a crisis of identity that quickly escalates, ultimately ending with the complete psychological dissolution of character. As his grasp of reality spins out of control or, perhaps, becomes so precise that he can no longer surrender to the illusions that had previously buffered his existence, Moscardo carefully details the progress of what he calls “his sickness” and the remedy he believes will cure him of it. The narrative is presented as a dialogue of sorts with an audience, the protagonist anticipating objections, inviting attention to certain observations and considerations. Pirandello was a prolific playwright, and this interactive form of monologue reflects that. But this is an intense and deeply internal journey, one that, once in motion, the narrator is unable or unwilling to halt—even as he is aware of the self-destructive nature of his actions. After all, “self” destruction is his ultimate desire. If he is simultaneously one, nonexistent, and a multitude, he reasons that he should be able to break his various selves apart, shatter the impressions others hold of him and prove that he is not what they think he is. However, the scheme Moscardo concocts leads him to engage in irrational, cruel and reckless behavior. Because he has become especially concerned with the widespread reputation inherited from his father, that he is a usurer, he turns his attention to the financial affairs of the bank in an especially reckless manner. And when money is involved, everyone pays attention. But not in the way our poor protagonist imagines. His friends and family respond by seeking to have him declared incompetent. Following Moscardo’s misadventures is akin to witnessing an existential train wreck. However, his insights into the limitations of self-awareness, and the nature of being in the world are profound. In navigating a very fine line between wisdom and madness, Pirandello has, in Moscardo, crafted a protagonist who is complicated, tragic, and strangely sympathetic.

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