Luigi Pirandello

Banquet speech

Luigi Pirandello’s speech at the Nobel Banquet at the City Hall in Stockholm, December 10, 1934


I take deep satisfaction in expressing my respectful gratitude to Your Majesties for having graciously honoured this banquet with your presence. May I be permitted to add the expression of my deep gratitude for the kind welcome I have been given as well as for this evening’s reception, which is a worthy epilogue to the solemn gathering earlier today at which I had the incomparable honour of receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature for 1934 from the august hands of His Majesty the King.

I also wish to express my profound respect and sincere gratitude to the eminent Royal Swedish Academy for its distinguished judgment, which crowns my long literary career.

For the success of my literary endeavours, I had to go to the school of life. That school, although useless to certain brilliant minds, is the only thing that will help a mind of my kind: attentive, concentrated, patient, truly childlike at first, a docile pupil, if not of teachers, at least of life, a pupil who would never abandon his complete faith and confidence in the things he learned. This faith resides in the simplicity of my basic nature. I felt the need to believe in the appearance of life without the slightest reserve or doubt.

The constant attention and deep sincerity with which I learned and pondered this lesson revealed humility, a love and respect for life that were indispensable for the assimilation of bitter disillusions, painful experiences, frightful wounds, and all the mistakes of innocence that give depth and value to our experiences. This education of the mind, accomplished at great cost, allowed me to grow and, at the same time, to remain myself.

As my true talents developed, they left me completely incapable of life, as becomes a true artist, capable only of thoughts and feelings; of thoughts because I felt, and of feelings because I thought. In fact, under the illusion of creating myself, I created only what I felt and was able to believe.

I feel immense gratitude, joy, and pride at the thought that this creation has been considered worthy of the distinguished award you have bestowed on me.

I would gladly believe that this Prize was given not so much to the virtuosity of a writer, which is always negligible, but to the human sincerity of my work.

Prior to the speech, Professor Göran Liljestrand of the Caroline Institute remarked: «Society is a higher unit of life than the individual; it has a greater complexity and involves adjustments of different kinds. The conflicts arising from the necessity of such adaptations have been the subject of Mr. Pirandello’s work. At present the problems concerned call for investigations along other lines than those followed by medicine and the other sciences. Mr. Pirandello, at once philosopher, poet, and dramatist, has been able to understand and describe different phases of human mentality. He has studied its changes in disease and their subtle relations to the normal mind. He has penetrated deeply into the obscure borderland between reality and dream. We honour him as one of the great masters of dramatic art.»

From Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967, Editor Horst Frenz, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969

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