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RECONCILIATION OF MOVEMENT AND FORM IN DIANA AND TUDA IN HIS BOOK, The Age of Pirandello, Landor MacClintock describes Pirandello's theory of "movement versus form" as a varying expression for what was called "by the Church 'body and soul,' by Rousseau 'nature and civilization,' by Freud 'id, ego, and superego'."l "Movement versus form," then, becomes an expression of the eternal dichotomy or polytomy of man as a social animal. This idea is manifested in Pirandello's work, MacClintock feels, as the "contrast between the fluidity of 'life' and the fixity which men attempt to impose upon it in art and in social conduct."2 Pirandello's play Diana and Tuda, then, becomes an expression of this fundamental idea- "that 'life' and 'form' are antithetical and antipathetical."3 This interpretation of the play is essentially in agreement with the one expounded earlier by Domenico Vittorini in his book, The Drama of Luigi Pirandello, as Vittorini's chapter dealing with Diana and Tuda is entitled "Life Rebels Against the Fixity of Art." Both these interpretations , I think, do not take fully into consideration the idea of life and form expressed by Pirandello himself in his "Preface to Six Characters in Search of an Author." It is true that in his "Preface" Pirandello speaks of "the inherent tragic conflict between life (which is always moving and changing) and form (which fixes it, immutable)."4 But the words "tragic conflict " here do not mean that life and form are antithetical; they mean that both inherently struggle for a mutual existence that, in human life, is always ineffectual. The life which in order to exist has become fixed in our corporeal form little by little kills that form.5 The form of human life necessarily manifests itself as body, and life, through age, is constantly consuming that form. The form of art, however, does not manifest itself as body; it manifests itself as that "which does not delimit or destroy its own life and which life does 1 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1951), p. 174. 2 MacClintock, p. 184. 3 MacClintock, p. 203. 4 In Naked Masks: Five Plays by Luigi Pirandello, edited by Eric Bentley (New York: E. P. Dutton & Company, Inc., 195.2), p. 367. 5 "Preface," p. 372. 410 1968 MOVEMENT AND FORM 411 not consume. ."6 It is precisely because only art can reconcile this "tragic conflict" that Pirandello refers to, that art exists on a "plane of life superior to the changeable existence of every day."7 If the beauty of artistic creation exists in art's unique ability to reconcile these forces, it is important to realize that form without life and movement is not art; art that is dead and merely eternal is not art; a stone is not art. To Pirandello the "mystery of artistic creation is the same as that of birth."8 In his "Preface to Six Characters" we see how very much alive his creations were to him-so much so that he could touch them and hear them, so much so that they transcended his ability to control and manipulate them. Contrary to what MacClintock suggests, art does not as much fix life as extend it. The quality of fixedness suggests the quality of mechanical repetition, and while a work of art is unalterable in its form, it is not unalterable in its life. Hence, always, as we open the book, we shall find Francesca alive and confessing to Dante her sweet sin, and if we turn the passage a hundred thousand times in succession Francesca will speak her words, never repeating them mechanically, but saying them as though each time were the first time with such living and sudden passion that Dante every time will turn faint. All that lives, by the fact of living, has a form, and by the same token must dieexcept the work of art which lives forever in so far as it is form.9 In this context of Pirandello's beliefs concerning movement and form we can understand Diana and Tuda as a dramatization not of the antithetical nature of art and life, but of the failure of two artists to incorporate the two...


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pp. 410-415
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