Narrator in verse, clear, lively, loose, Riccardo Balsamo-Crivelli ( Boccaccino , La fiaba di Calugino , etc.) had not undeserved a critical applause, which shows what fascination certainly gentle and delicate archaism has in Italy, in which he satisfies the traditional sense of form. And this is one of the reasons for the success of Sem Benelli’s plays too, dramatic dramas, but lacking in true vitality, which know of literature in inventions, in language, in verse. With these plays Benelli, who already had in Tignola attempting a subtle analysis of modern souls, he began to deal with that theater of poetry, historical, archaeological and mythological, which, as we have seen, had been initiated by D’Annunzio. But what the great artist had more or less happily accomplished was unsuccessful among his followers, who often loved to complicate historical representation and that type of theater with civil or patriotic interpretations and symbols, despite the nobility of intent and the vigor of ingenuity can be said to have now faded. Here it will suffice to recall, for example, the Square Furrow and the Judas by Federico Valerio Ratti, the Carlotta Corday and the Giulio Cesare d’Enrico Corradini, the dramas of the Risorgimento ( The young Italy , King Carlo Alberto , Garibaldi , etc.) and the Trilogy of the Round Table by Domenico Tumiati, Madame Rolland and Ginevra degli Almieri by Giovacchino Forzano, Tristano and Isotta by Ettore Moschino; The mocker by Nino Berrini. Aside from the Orione , the Glauco and the Belfagor by Ercole Luigi Morselli, singular for the melancholy of the idyll and for the effort, although not always successful, of symbolic depth.
According to Shoefrantics.com, the psychological, or rather, bourgeois drama, of which various developments and attitudes were already seen on the fall of the century, gave proof of tenacious and fruitful vitality. XIX and the opening of the new century. The refinement of a psychologist and a sense of humanity reveals Fausto Maria Martini, already mentioned among the narrators, in Giglio nero , in Ridi clown! and in the Flower under the eyes , while in The other Nanetta, tackling the problem of the influence of fiction on reality, also approaches that form of theater into which the bourgeois theater leads, denying itself, and which through the work and action of a great artist, Luigi Pirandello , managed to win the favor of the public. It is the theater of the grotesque, so named from the qualification given to his comedy The mask and the face (1916) by Luigi Chiarelli, who from paradoxical situations, carried out and scripted with singular skill, succeeds in a kind of grotesque satire of psychological theater, placing what is the practical reality of life in the face of attitudes, illusions, pretenses which are a fatal necessity of men. Around this type of theater are grouped, different for the genre of inventions and, of course, for the energy of representation, the plays of Pier Maria Rosso di San Secondo, also author of novels and short stories, which with Marionette , what a passion! (1918) gave the theater a work of singular vigor in the representation of a colorless world enslaved by passion; by Luigi Antonelli, Enrico Cavacchioli and some others.
In his rich production, which first was a very original narrator, and is now essentially a fortunate playwright, Pirandello struggles with the problem of the ever-elusive meaning of human life; and from the antithesis, studiously highlighted, between the naked essence of life and the appearances with which men must dress it, between what life is in its unknowable reality and what men must believe it to be, a humor leaps tragic exquisitely and inexorably expressed by art. It sometimes happens, yes in the narrative prose and yes in the plays of Pirandello, that the philosophical problem adds an importunate cerebralism to the art of the poet; but in general the vivid creativity of his imagination and, in the plays, his admirable skill in theatrical technique overcomes the abstruse logical complexities and offers the reader or spectator figures and scenes of living and true humanity. Perhaps nothing higher and more perfect offers Italian literature today than the art of Pirandello; but in the tormenting and melancholy cultural datum, which it dominates and often cancels in itself, the present condition of literature itself is reflected, undulating uncertainly between disparate inspirations and different experiences, almost waiting for the mighty writer for whose mouth, claimed the its independence also from foreign literature of the same age, as well as from the classics, may it tell the world a new word of its life.