Much has been written about Luigi Pirandello, the great artist and grandiose personality. His beloved actress, Marta Abba's side of the story, on the other hand, has never been adequately told.
It's a tale that includes intriguing behind-the-scenes vignettes of the early history of filmmaking, including Pirandello's suspicions of Walt Disney; Marta's meeting with Mussolini - a fan of hers - and her candid impressions of him; Marta's marriage of convenience into the prominent Millikin family of Ohio; glimpses of an Italian media dynasty and its heavy-handed influence on the arts in general, and on Pirandello's legacy and Marta's career in particular.
This book sketches out the story of a modern romance between an author and an actress, between an artist and his collaborating muse, between an older man and younger women. It also attempts to tackle the subject of Marta's sexuality - an aspect of her life that has been little known until now.
Pietro Frassica is a professor of Italian at Princeton University. He has done principal work in the Renaissance, the 18th Century (Baretti, Parini, Alfieri), contemporary literature (Primo Levi, Marinetti, Patti, Soldati, Lagorio, Saba, Vittorini) and theatre (Pirandello). He is the author of more than eighty published articles and a number of books. He met and worked closely with Marta Abba during his research in the 1980s.