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Screening the Pirandello effect: Third-genre performativity in La canzone dell'amore

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-48
Number of pages18
JournalPirandello Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2016


In this article I present and discuss the so-called ‘Pirandello effect’, with particular emphasis on its narratological implications and its psychoanalytic use to describe the effects of assigned gender roles in the formation and development of gender identity. This notion is framed within the theory of gender performativity to highlight the narrative construction of gender roles in the first Italian talkie, La canzone dell’amore (1930), freely adapted from Pirandello’s short story ‘In silenzio’ (1905). I will call ‘third-genre performativity’ the gender effects produced by the genre that enables and conditions the passage from short story to film, and I suggest that the Pirandello effect finds its essential third genre in melodrama.

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