Eleven Short Stories: A Dual-Language Book

Eleven Short Stories: A Dual-Language Book

by Luigi Pirandello

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Overview

Winner of the 1934 Nobel Prize for literature, Luigi Pirandello (1867 - 1936) is best known for such landmark plays as Six Characters in Search of an Author. One of the great literary figures of the twentieth century, he also distinguished himself in a vast outpouring of short stories, poetry, novels, and essays. The stories often provided the seeds for later novels and plays.
The 11 tales included in this collection are among his best. Presented in the original Italian with excellent new English translations on facing pages, they offer students of Italian language and literature a unique learning aid and a treasury of superb fiction by a modern master.
The stories range in time from the earliest known tale, "Little Hut," a study of rural passions written in 1884, to "Mrs. Frola and Mr. Ponza, Her Son-in-Law," a quintessential Pirandello story about the relativity of truth and the impossibility of penetrating other people's minds. Published in 1917, it formed the basis of Pirandello's first major play, Right You Are If You Think You Are. In addition to these narratives, the volume also includes "Citrons from Sicily," "With Other Eyes," "A Voice," "The Fly," "The Oil Jar," "It's Not to be Taken Seriously," "Think it Over, Giacomino!," "A Character's Tragedy," and "A Prancing Horse."
Accompanying the stories are a biographical and critical introduction to Pirandello and his work, brief introductions to each of the stories and explanatory footnotes.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780486120331
Publisher: Dover Publications
Publication date: 11/13/2012
Series: Dover Dual Language Italian
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 758,541
File size: 1 MB

Read an Excerpt

Eleven Short Stories Undici Novelle

A Dual-Language Book


By LUIGI PIRANDELLO, STANLEY APPELBAUM

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 1994 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-12033-1



CHAPTER 1

CAPANNETTA

Bozzetto Siciliano


Un'alba come mai fu vista.

Una bimba venne fuori della nera capannetta, coi capelli arruffati sulla fronte e con un fazzoletto rosso-sbiadito in testa.

Mentre andava bottonando la dimessa vesticciola, sbadigliava, ancora abbindolata dal sonno, e guardava: guardava lontano, con gli occhi sbarrati come se nulla vedesse.

In fondo, in fondo, una lunga striscia di rosso infuocato s'intrecciava in modo bizzarro col verde-smeraldo degli alberi, che a lunga distesa lontanamente si perdevano.

Tutto il cielo era seminato di nuvolette d'un giallo croceo, acceso.

La bimba andava sbadatamente, ed ecco ... diradandosi a poco a poco una piccola collina che a destra s'innalzava le si sciorina davanti allo sguardo l'immensità delle acque del mare.

La bimba parve colpita, commossa dinanzi a quella scena, e stette a guardar le barchette che volavano su l'onde, tinte d'un giallo pallido.

Era tutto silenzio.—Aliava ancora la dolce brezzolina della notte, che faceva rabbrividire il mare, e s'innalzava lento, lento un blando profumo di terra.

Poco dopo la bimba si volse—vagò per quell'incerto chiarore, e giunta sull'alto del greppo, si sedette.

Guardò distratta la valle verdeggiante, che le rideva di sotto, ed aveva cominciato a cantilenare una delicata canzonetta.

Ma, ad un tratto, come colpita da un'idea, smise di cantare, e con quanta voce aveva in gola, gridò:

—Zi' Jeli! Oh zi' Jee ...

E una voce grossolana rispose da la valle:

—Ehh ...

—Salite su ... ché il padrone vi vuole! ...

Frattanto la bimba ritornava verso la capannetta, a capo basso.—Jeli era salito ancora sonnacchioso con la giacca sull'omero sinistro e la pipa in bocca—pipa, che sempre lasciava dormire tra i denti.

Appena entrato salutò papà Camillo, mentre Màlia, la figlia maggiore del castaldo, gli piantò in faccia due occhi come saette, da bucare un macigno.

Jeli ripose allo sguardo.

Era papà Camillo un mozzicone di uomo, grosso come una botte.

Màlia all'incontro aveva il volto d'una dama di Paolo Veronese, e negli occhi ci si leggeva chiaramente la beata semplicità del suo cuore.

—Senti, Jeli,—disse Papà Camillo,—prepara delle frutta, ché domani verranno i signori di città.—Buoni, sai! ... se no ... Come è vero Dio! ...

—Oh! sempre la stessa storia,—rispose Jeli,—e sapete voi che queste le son cose da dire ... e poi ... a me! ...

—Intanto,—riprese papà Camillo—e prendendolo pel braccio lo portò fuori della capanna—intanto ... , se un'altra volta ti viene il ticchio di ... Basta. Tu mi capisci ...

Jeli rimase come interdetto.

Papà Camillo scese per la valle.

Non si potea dar di meglio e il giovane saltò alla capannetta.

—Siamo perduti!—fece Màlia.

—Sciocca!—disse Jeli,—se non ci riesco con le buone ...

—Oh! Jeli, Jeli che vuoi tu dire?

—Come, non mi comprendi? Fuggiremo.

—Fuggiremo?—disse la fanciulla, sorpresa.

—O ... ,—soggiunse Jeli—e si mise la falce lucente attorno al collo ...

—Mio Dio!—esclamò Màlia, come se un brivido le corresse per tutto il corpo.

—A questa sera, bada, a sette ore!—disse Jeli e sparì. La fanciulla mandò un grido.

Abbuiava.

L'ora stabilita si avvicinava, e Màlia pallida, pallida, con le labbra come due foglioline di rosa secca, stava seduta dinanzi alla porta.

Guardava il piano verdeggiante che si inondava di buio—e

quando lontanamente la squilla del villaggio suonò l'Ave, pregò anche lei.

E quel silenzio solenne, parve divina preghiera di Natura!

Dopo lungo aspettare Jeli venne. Questa volta avea lasciato la pipa, ed era un poco acceso e molto risoluto.

—Così presto?—disse Màlia tremante.

—Un quarto prima, un quarto dopo, è sempre tempo guadagnato—rispose Jeli.

—Ma ...

—Santo diavolo! mi pare tempo di finirla con questi ma ... Non sai tu, cuor mio, di che si tratta? ...

—Lo so bene! lo so tanto bene ... —s'affrettò a rispondere Màlia, che non poteva adattarsi a quella sconsigliata risoluzione.

Frattanto un fischio lontano avvertì Jeli che la vettura era pronta.

—Su via!—disse;—Maliella mia, coraggio! E la gioja che ci chiama ...

Màlia mandò un grido—Jeli la prese per il braccio, e di corsa ...

Come pose il piede nella carretta—A tutta furia!—gridò.

I due giovani si strinsero e si baciarono con libertà per la prima volta.

A nove ore papà Camillo ritornò dalla valle e fischiò potentemente.

Venne la bimba in fretta e prima che fosse giunta:

—Dove è Jeli?—le domandò;—hai tu veduto Jeli?

—Padrone! ... padrone! ... —rispose quella con voce ansante, soffocata.

—Che cosa vuoi tu dirmi? Mummietta!—ruggì papà Camillo.

—Jeli ... è fuggito ... con Maliella ...

— ...

E un suono rauco ... selvaggio fuggì dalla strozza di papà Camillo.

Corse ... volò alla capanna: prese lo schioppo e fece fuoco in aria. La fanciulla guardava tramortita.

Era uno spettacolo strano la collera pazza di quell'uomo. Un riso frenetico scattò dalle sue labbra e si perdé in un rantolo strozzato.—Non sapea più quel che si faceva ... E fuori di sé appiccò il fuoco alla capannetta come per distruggere ogni cosa che gli parlava di sua figlia.—Poi di corsa furiosa, con

lo schioppo in mano, via per il viale, dove forse sperava trovare gli amanti.

Per la lugubre sera salivano al cielo sanguigne quelle lingue di fuoco ...

Fumava la nera capannetta, fumava crepitando, come se col lento scoppiettio volesse salutare la bimba, che pallida, inorridita, con gli occhi fissi la guardava.

Pareva che tutti i suoi pensieri seguissero la colonna di fumo, che s'innalzava dalla sua modesta dimora ...

Fumava la nera capannetta, fumava crepitando, e la bimba stette muta a riposar gli sguardi sulla cenere cupa.


Palermo '83


LITTLE HUT

Sicilian Sketch


A dawn like none ever seen.

A little girl came out of the small dark hut, with her hair tousled on her forehead and with a faded red kerchief on her head.

While she buttoned up her plain little dress, she was yawning, still confusedly half-asleep, and she was gazing: gazing into the distance, with her eyes wide open as if she saw nothing.

Far away, far away, a long streak of flaming red was strangely interwoven with the emerald green of the trees, which extended a great distance until disappearing from sight a long way off.

The entire sky was spattered with little clouds of a flaming saffron yellow.

The girl was walking inattentively, and there! ... as a small hill that rose on the right was gradually lost to her view, the immensity of the waters of the sea was displayed before her eyes.

The girl seemed impressed, moved in the face of that scene, and stopped to look at the small boats that were skimming on the waves, tinged a pale yellow.

All was silence.—The gentle little night breeze was still blowing, creating trembling ripples on the sea, and slowly, slowly a pleasing smell of earth arose.

Shortly afterward the girl turned—wandered in that weak morning light and, when she reached the top of the rocky bank, sat down.

She absentmindedly viewed the green valley that smiled to her from below, and she had begun to hum a charming little song.

But all at once, as if struck by an idea, she stopped singing and, in the loudest tone she could muster, cried:

"'Uncle' Jeli! Oh, 'Uncle' Je ..."

And a coarse voice answered from the valley:

"Eh ..."

"Climb up ... because the boss wants you! ..."

Meanwhile the girl was returning toward the little hut, her head lowered.—Jeli had climbed up, still sleepy, with his jacket on his left shoulder and his pipe in his mouth—a pipe that he always allowed to sleep between his teeth.

As soon as he had come in, he greeted Papa Camillo, while Màlia, the steward's older daughter, looked him in the face with two eyes like arrows that could pierce a boulder.

Jeli responded to her look.

Papa Camillo was a little stump of a man, fat as a wine cask.

Màlia, on the other hand, had the face of one of Paolo Veronese's noblewomen, and in her eyes the blessed simplicity of her heart could be clearly read.

"Listen, Jeli," said Papa Camillo, "prepare some fruit because tomorrow the master and his family are coming from town.—Good ones, right? ... otherwise ... I swear to God! ..."

"Oh! Always the same story," replied Jeli, "and you should know better than to say things like that ... and to me of all people! ..."

"Meanwhile," continued Papa Camillo and, taking him by the arm, led him out of the hut, "meanwhile ... if you ever again take it into your head to ... Enough! You understand me ..."

Jeli seemed thunderstruck.

Papa Camillo went down through the valley.

The situation couldn't be better, and the young man dashed over to the little hut.

"We're lost!" said Màlia.

"Silly!" said Jeli. "If I don't succeed by fair means ..."

"Oh! Jeli, Jeli, what do you mean?"

"What, you don't understand me? We'll run away."

"Run away?" said the girl, surprised.

"Or else ...," Jeli added, and he put his gleaming sickle around his neck ...

"My God!" exclaimed Màlia, as if a shudder ran all through her body.

"This evening, you hear? At seven o'clock!" said Jeli, and vanished.

The girl uttered a cry.

It was becoming dark.

The arranged time was getting close and Màlia, extremely pale, with lips like two small petals of a dried rose, was sitting in front of the door.

She was looking at the green plain that was being submerged in

darkness—and when, far off, the village bell rang the Angelus, she too prayed.

And that solemn silence was like a divine prayer of Nature!

After a long wait Jeli came. This time he had left behind his pipe, and was a little flushed and very determined.

"So early?" said Màlia, trembling.

"Fifteen minutes sooner, fifteen minutes later, it's all time gained," answered Jeli.

"But ..."

"Damn it all! I think it's time to put aside all these 'buts' ... Darling, don't you know what we're undertaking? ..."

"I do know! I know it very well ...," Màlia hurriedly replied, unable to adjust to that rash determination.

Meanwhile a distant whistle informed Jeli that their conveyance was ready.

"Come on!" he said. "Be brave, my little Màlia! It's happiness that's calling for us ..."

Màlia uttered a cry—Jeli took her by the arm, and off they ran ...

As he set foot inside the farm wagon, he shouted: "As fast as you can!"

The two young people embraced and kissed freely for the first time.

At nine o'clock Papa Camillo returned from the valley and gave a loud whistle.

The little girl came hurriedly and before she arrived:

"Where is Jeli?" he asked her. "Have you seen Jeli?"

"Boss! ... Boss! ..." she replied in a breathless, stifled voice.

"What are you trying to tell me? Helpless simpleton!" roared Papa Camillo.

"Jeli ... ran away ... with Màlia ..."

"..."

And a hoarse, ... wild sound escaped Papa Camillo's throat.

He ran ... flew to the hut: he took the carbine and fired into the air. The girl was watching, stunned.

That man's mad rage was a strange sight. A frenetic laugh burst from his lips and was lost in a choked rattle.—He no longer knew what he was doing ... And, beside himself, he set fire to the little hut as if to destroy everything that spoke to him of his daugh ter.—Then, gun in hand, he raced furiously off down the path, where he perhaps hoped to find the lovers.

In the mournful evening those tongues of flame rose bloodred into the sky.

The little hut, blackened, was pouring out smoke, pouring smoke and crackling, as if with its slow snapping and popping it wanted to greet the little girl, who, pale, horrified, was watching it with fixed gaze.

All her thoughts seemed to be following the column of smoke that was rising from her humble dwelling ...

The little hut, blackened, was pouring out smoke, pouring smoke and crackling, and the little girl stood there in silence, resting her gaze on the gloomy ashes.

Palermo '83

CHAPTER 2

LUMIE DI SICILIA


—Teresina sta qui?

Il cameriere, ancora in maniche di camicia, ma già impiccato in un altissimo colletto, coi radi capelli ben lisciati e disposti sul cranio, inarcando le folte ciglia giunte che parevan due baffi spostati, rasi dal labbro e appiccicati lì per non perderli, squadrò da capo ai piedi il giovanotto che gli stava davanti sul pianerottolo della scala: campagnolo all'aspetto, col bavero del pastrano ruvido rialzato fin su gli orecchi e le mani paonazze, gronchie dal freddo, che reggevano un sacchetto sudicio di qua, una vecchia valigetta di là, a contrappeso.

—Chi è Teresina?

Il giovanotto scosse prima la testa per far saltare dalla punta del naso una gocciolina, poi rispose:

—Teresina, la cantante.

—Ah,—sclamò il cameriere con un sorriso d'ironico stupore:—Si chiama così, senz'altro, Teresina? E voi chi siete?

—C'è o non c'è?—domandò il giovanotto, corrugando le ciglia e sorsando pe' l naso.—Ditele che c'è Micuccio e lasciatemi entrare.

—Ma non c'è nessuno,—riprese il cameriere col sorriso rassegato su le labbra.—La signora Sina Marnis è ancora in teatro e ...

—Zia Marta pure?—lo interruppe Micuccio.

—Ah, lei è parente? Favorisca allora, favorisca ... Non c'è nessuno. Anche lei a teatro, la Zia. Prima del tocco non ritorneranno. È la serata d'onore di sua ... come sarebbe di lei, la signora? cugina, forse?

Micuccio restò un istante impacciato.

—Non sono parente, ... sono Micuccio Bonavino, lei lo sa ... Vengo apposta dal paese.

A questa risposta il cameriere stimò innanzi tutto conveniente di ritirare il lei e riprendere il voi: introdusse Micuccio in una cameretta al bujo presso la cucina, dove qualcuno ronfava strepitosamente, e gli disse:

—Sedete qua. Adesso porto un lume.

Micuccio guardò prima dalla parte donde veniva quel ronfo, ma non poté discernere nulla; guardò poi in cucina, dove il cuoco, assistito da un guattero, apparecchiava da cena. L'odor misto delle vivande in preparazione lo vinse: n'ebbe quasi un'ebrietà vertiginosa: era poco men che digiuno dalla mattina; veniva da Reggio di Calabria: una notte e un giorno intero in ferrovia.

Il cameriere recò il lume, e la persona che ronfava nella stanza, dietro una cortina sospesa a una funicella da una parete all'altra, borbottò tra il sonno:

—Chi è?

—Ehi, Dorina, su!—chiamò il cameriere.—Vedi che c'è qui il signor Bonvicino ...

—Bonavino,—corresse Micuccio che stava a soffiarsi su le dita.

—Bonavino, Bonavino ... conoscente della signora. Tu dormi della grossa: suonano alla porta e non senti ... Io ho da apparecchiare, non posso far tutto io, capisci?, badare al cuoco che non sa, alla gente che viene ...

Un ampio sonoro sbadiglio, protratto nello stiramento delle membra e terminato in un nitrito per un brividore improvviso, accolse la protesta del cameriere, il quale s'allontanò esclamando:

—E va bene!

Micuccio sorrise, e lo seguì con gli occhi attraverso un'altra stanza in penombra fino alla vasta sala in fondo, illuminata, dove sorgeva splendida la mensa, e restò meravigliato a contemplare, finché di nuovo il ronfo non lo fece voltare a guardar la cortina.


CITRONS FROM SICILY

"Is Teresina here?"

The servant—still in his shirt sleeves, but with his neck already squeezed into an extremely high collar and with his sparse hair carefully dressed and arranged on his cranium—raised his thick, joined eyebrows, which resembled a displaced mustache that had been shaved off his lips and pasted up there so he wouldn't lose it, and examined from head to foot the young man standing in front of him on the staircase landing: a rustic from the look of him, with the collar of his rough overcoat raised up to his ears and his hands—purple, numbed with cold—holding a dirty little sack on one side and a small old suitcase on the other, as a counterweight.

"Who is Teresina?"

The young man first shook his head to get rid of a little water drop on the tip of his nose, then replied:

"Teresina, the singer."

"Ah!" exclaimed the servant with a smile of ironic amazement: "That's her name, just plain Teresina? And who are you?"

"Is she here or isn't she?" asked the young man, knitting his brows and sniffling. "Tell her that Micuccio is here, and let me in."

"But there's no one here," continued the servant with his smile congealed on his lips. "Madame Sina Marnis is still at the theater and ..."

"Aunt Marta, too?" Micuccio interrupted him.

"Ah, you're a relative, sir? In that case, step right in, step right in ... No one's at home. She's at the theater, too, your aunt. They won't be back before one. This is the benefit night of your ... what is she to you, the lady? Your cousin, perhaps?"

Micuccio stood there embarrassed for a moment.

"I'm not a relative ... I'm Micuccio Bonavino, she knows ... I've come on purpose from our hometown."

Upon receiving this reply, the servant deemed it suitable above all else to take back the polite lei form of address and go back to the ordinary voi; he led Micuccio into a small unlighted room near the kitchen, where someone was snoring noisily, and said to him:

"Sit here. I'll go and get a lamp."

Micuccio first looked in the direction from which the snoring was coming, but couldn't make out anything; then he looked into the kitchen, where the cook, aided by a scullery boy, was preparing a supper. The mingled aromas of the dishes being prepared overpowered him; their effect on him was like a heady intoxication; he had hardly eaten a thing since that morning; he had traveled from Reggio di Calabria: a night and a full day on the train.

The servant brought the lamp, and the person who was snoring in the room, behind a curtain hung from a cord between two walls, muttered sleepily:

"Who is it?"

"Hey, Dorina, get up!" the servant called. "Look, Mr. Bonvicino is here ..."

"Bonavino," Micuccio corrected him, as he blew on his fingers.

"Bonavino, Bonavino ... an acquaintance of the mistress. You really sleep soundly: they ring at the door and you don't hear it ... I have to set the table; I can't do everything myself, understand—keep an eye on the cook, who doesn't

know the ropes; watch for people who come to call ..."

A big, loud yawn from the maid, prolonged while she stretched and ending in a whinny caused by a sudden shiver, was her reply to the complaint of the manservant, who walked away exclaiming:

"All right!"

Micuccio smiled and watched him depart across another room in semidarkness until he reached the vast, well-lit salon at the far end, where the splendid supper table towered; he kept on gazing in amazement until the snoring made him turn once more and look at the curtain.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Eleven Short Stories Undici Novelle by LUIGI PIRANDELLO, STANLEY APPELBAUM. Copyright © 1994 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction
Capannetta: Bozzetto siciliano
Little Hut: Sicilian Sketch
Lumie di Sicilia
Citrons from Sicily
Con altri occhi
With Other Eyes
Una voce
A Voice
La mosca
The Fly
La giara
The Oil Jar
Non è una cosa seria
It's Not to Be Taken Seriously
"Pensaci, Giacomino!"
"Think It Over, Giacomino!"
La tragedia d'un personaggio
A Character's Tragedy
La rellegrata
A Prancing Horse
"La signora Frola e il signor Ponza, suo genero"
"Mrs. Frola and Mr. Ponza, Her Son-in-Law"

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