One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand - Luigi Pirandello

Spurl Editions


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One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand by Luigi Pirandello / ISBN 9781943679072 / 218-page paperback from Spurl Editions


Translated from Italian by William Weaver, who wrote of One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand, “The definition of madness, the problem of identity, the impossibility of communicating with others and with being (or knowing) one’s self … Nowhere are these themes more intensely and wryly treated than in this spare, terse novel.”

Luigi Pirandello’s extraordinary final novel begins when Vitangelo Moscarda’s wife remarks that Vitangelo’s nose tilts to the right. This commonplace interaction spurs the novel’s unemployed, wealthy narrator to examine himself, the way he perceives others, and the ways that others perceive him. At first he only notices small differences in how he sees himself and how others do; but his self-examination quickly becomes relentless, dizzying, leading to often darkly comic results as Vitangelo decides that he must demolish that version of himself that others see.

Pirandello said of his 1926 novel that it “deals with the disintegration of the personality. It arrives at the most extreme conclusions, the farthest consequences.” Indeed, its unnerving humor and existential dissection of modern identity find counterparts in Samuel Beckett’s Molloy trilogy and the works of Thomas Bernhard and Vladimir Nabokov.

“In a world that has, justifiably, become a good deal less optimistic than it was sixty-odd years ago, the drama of Vitangelo Moscarda – the tragedy of a man whose great aim was to see clearly and to be truly himself – has perhaps become more familiar and more acceptable. The terrible honesty of the novel and of its protagonist has, with time, become all the more desirable and impelling. Vitangelo has been vindicated.” — William Weaver

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