Luigi Pirandello (Italian pronunciation: ; 28 June 1867 – 10 December 1936) was an Italian dramatist, novelist, and short story writer awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1934, for his "bold and brilliant renovation of the drama and the stage." Pirandello's works include novels, hundreds of short stories, and about 40 plays, some of which are written in Sicilian. Pirandello's tragic farces are often seen as forerunners for Theatre of the Absurd.
Pirandello was born into an upper-class family in a village with the curious name of Kaos (Chaos), a poor suburb of Girgenti (Agrigento, a town in southern Sicily). His father, Stefano, belonged to a wealthy family involved in the sulphur industry and his mother, Caterina Ricci Gramitto, was also of a well-to-do background, descending from a family of the bourgeois professional class of Agrigento. Both families, the Pirandellos and the Ricci Gramittos, were ferociously anti-Bourbonic and actively participated in the struggle for unification and democracy ("Il Risorgimento"). Stefano participated in the famous Expedition of the Thousand, later following Garibaldi all the way to the battle of Aspromonte and Caterina, who had hardly reached the age of thirteen, was forced to accompany her father to Malta, where he had been sent into exile by the Bourbon monarchy. But the open participation in the Garibaldian cause and the strong sense of idealism of those early years were quickly transformed, above all in Caterina, into an angry and bitter disappointment with the new reality created by the unification. Pirandello would eventually assimilate this sense of betrayal and resentment and express it in several of his poems and in his novel The Old and the Young. It is also probable that this climate of disillusion inculcated in the young Luigi the sense of disproportion between ideals and reality which is recognizable in his essay on humorism (L'Umorismo).
Pirandello received his elementary education at home but was much more fascinated by the fables and legends, somewhere between popular and magic, that his elderly servant Maria Stella used to recount to him than by anything scholastic or academic. By the age of twelve he had already written his first tragedy. At the insistence of his father, he was registered at a technical school but eventually switched to the study of the humanities at the ginnasio, something which had always attracted him.