Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Comparative Literature


Paolo Fasoli

Committee Members

William Coleman

Giancarlo Lombardi

Subject Categories

Comparative Literature | Italian Language and Literature | Italian Literature | Language Interpretation and Translation | Modern Literature | Translation Studies


Translation, Modernism, Italian, Realism


Luigi Pirandello’s first novel, L’Esclusa, written in 1893, but not published in its definitive edition until 1927, straddles two literary worlds: that of the realistic style of the Italian veristi, and something new, a style and approach to narrative that anticipates the theory of writing Pirandello lays out in his long essay L’Umorismo, as well as the kinds of experimental writing that one associates with early-20th-century modernism in general, and with Pirandello’s later work in particular. The novel’s living in both worlds, however, makes it an interesting and problematic text. First, it gives readers insight into the trajectory of Pirandello’s work as he develops as a writer, and particularly as he shifts the focus of his output from prose fiction to theatre. Second, and much more broadly, L’Esclusa is an important transitional text in the history of modern European literature, not so much because the novel itself made waves or wielded a great deal of direct influence, but rather because it serves as an indicator of a change that was already beginning to be made manifest in the works of a number of late-19th-century novelists, referred to for the purposes of this dissertation as “proto-modernists.”

In this translation dissertation, I have executed two different, but related, projects. The first part of the dissertation comprises a new critical evaluation of L’Esclusa, linking it explicitly to both the theoretical principles aligned with Pirandello’s later output and with early 20th-century literary modernism in general. In this part of the dissertation, I also explore the linguistic and stylistic features of the text that look forward to the kind of techniques that will be associated with the later movement. The second part constitutes a complete translation of the novel from Italian into English, prefaced by an in-depth examination of the currents in Translation Studies that informed my translation practice, as well as the features of this text that proved to be especially notable or problematic on this front.

L’Esclusa has too long been overlooked and, in English, it is out-of-print. It is the aim of this dissertation both to extend the theoretical analysis of L’Esclusa that connects it to Pirandello’s later writing and to literary modernism, and to make this important text available to readers in English.