8 November: The Swedish Academy awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature to Luigi Pirandello on this day in 1934

They say that shortly after receiving the Nobel Prize in Stockholm, playwright Luigi Pirandello quickly packed his suitcase and left for Prague where he had arranged to hold a conference at the Italian Institute of Culture.

An episode like that is emblematic when one works in artistic or creative fields: an important contract or an unmissable opportunity can pop up at any moment. And whenever it does, it’s accompanied by a siren song that makes it seem unique, crucial, a ‘must’. The eponymous Mattia Pascal in Pirandello’s novel says that he only ever really felt free when he was “holding a suitcase”: here today, somewhere else tomorrow. The same also applied to Sicilian-born Pirandello who became famous when he was about fifty:  a man always on the move (like his aforementioned character) who no doubt felt he needed to make up for lost time.

What a huge effort goes into earning one’s bread (with or without butter)!

Feast day of the Four Crowned Martyrs