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“If your son writes verses, correct him and send him to the mountains . If you find him in the poetry for the second time , punish him again. If he does it for the third time , leave him in peace because he is a poet”. The touching words of Grazia Deledda , Italian writer of the 1900s, while thanks for the Literature Nobel Prize in 1926, well describes the difficult situation of a writer of her time, especially for a woman. 92 years have passed since that day , since an Italian female writer has been honoured with the maximum recognition on a world level. IEX stories today tells a history of a tiny Sardinian woman , that was able to conquer the world with her pen.

Grazia Deledda’s biography

Grazia Deledda was born in Nuoro on 28th September in 1871. As most of the families at the time , even his family is numerous: she is the fifth of seven sons and daughetrs. Her parents are wealthy and can afford a tutor who will guide her during her autodidact education after the fourth grade. Then family tragedies came one after the other : the older brother , Santus, letft the studies and became alcoholic, the youngest , Andrea, was arrested for thefts. The father died when Grazia was 21 and the family had to abandon the comforts. Then the sister Vincenza disappeared ,too. But the tenacious Grazia knew how to use all this pain to continue with the passion for the writing that brought her to publish ,  at the age of 15, her first novella on a newspaper of Nuoro. In October 1899 the writer moves to Rome with the husband Palmiro Madesani official of the Ministry of Finances, by whom she had 2 children. A breast cancer was the cause of her death in August 1936. 

Commemorative plate of Grazia Deledda

Commemorative plate of Grazia Deledda

Grazia Deledda’s works

In 1888 Grazia Deledda’s writer career starts with the publication of some of her tales, Sangue sardo e Remigia Helder, published by Edoardo Perino on the magazine “L’ultima moda”. The pages of this  magazine will have her first serial novel, Memorie di Fernanda. Despite the many critiques received by those who don’t approve the writing as a profession, Grazia continues to produce works that have made the history of the Italian literature: in 1890  comes out in instalments on the daily newspaper L’avvenire della Sardegna in Cagliari, the novel Stella d’Oriente, and in Milan, by the publisher Trevisini, Nell’azzurro, a book of novellas for children. She was a writer not only of novels: at the end of 20th century also her first poetries were published, collected in Paesaggi Sardi.

Grazia Deledda, italian writer

Grazia Deledda, italian writer

Grazia Deledda’s books : Sardinian novels that has conquere the world

“I don’t dream the glory for a feeling of vanity and egoism, but because I deeply love my country , and I dream that one day I can radiate with a mild ray the dull shadows of our woods, that I can one day narrate , the life and the passions of my people, so different from the other ones, so vilified and forgotten and therefore more miserable in their proud and primitive ignorance. I will be 20 soon , at the age of 30 I want have achieved my radiant dream that is to create only a literature completely and exclusively Sardinian”. This was the biggest Grazia Deledda’s desire and slowly that desire becomes reality. Her verista narrative tells of primitive passions lived in the wild Sardinian land, beautiful and mysterious, difficult to understand, but that trough her pen is offered pleasantly to the curious eyes of the world. A tiny woman , as the other women in Sardinia, challenges the big intellectuals of the 20th century with novels and theatrical works of big success.   

Canne al vento, 1913

The essential Sardinian landscape is so imagined. The title is able to paint perfectly the background on witch animate the events of the characters created by Grazia Deledda’s imagination. The reeds in the wind , typical element of the island of the four Mori, represent also the human fragility in front of the fate. And yet, just like the reed in the wind, the man bends to the will of the destiny.  Grazia’s fate seemed already written : a woman who has to care only for house and family. She proved that beyond every patriarchal society she would have written it by herself.

La madre, 1920

This Deledda’s work challenges the morals , where a young priest falls in love with a single woman. The central figure is Paulo’s mother, who notices the amorous turmoils of the son and tries to bring him back on the right path : he is a priest and he can’t give in to temptations , to the sin, as all the common men. The relationship has to be immediately ended. Agnese, the mistress, doesnt’t see it the same way, and when she is refused, promises to disclose publicly their relationship during the Sunday Mass. The tension during the ceremony increases to such a point that causes the death of the mother. Faith and Sin , Passion and Death: Grazia Deledda’s talent mixes cleverly themes so tough and delivers to the History pearls of literature. 

La via del Male, 1896

With this novel Grazia Deledda embraces the verista movement and obtains Luigi Capuana’s compliments, one of the maximum exponents of the trend. The protagonist is one more time the rocky Sardinian land and its men, primitive and taciturn, always in struggle against the opposing fate, upset by violent passions and closed in their beliefs and traditions . As crazy pendulums , swing between Love and Hate, extremities of a life that doesn’t know rest or sense, but only beat.

Cenere, 1904

Olì, a young woman meets a married man and falls in love with him, conceiving a son, Anania. The dishonour , the shame caused to the family bring her outside the house and after seven years decides to entrust the son to the father in attempt to give him a more refined life. Grazia Deledda narrates the women, very fragile and the indissoluble bond between a mother and a son. Because the holiest tie that exsists can’t be erased by any moral law.  

Elias Portolu, 1903

A new life, a blank page to be written. Elias, a shepherd from Barbagia, comes back home after he has served a term of imprisonment. But his eyes bump into the eyes of his sister-in-law Maddalena, wife of his brother Pietro. Elias escapes from the committed sin taking the vows and not acknowledging the son born from the adultery. Is it possible to give up everything to live a passion?

Grazia Deledda romanzi

I romanzi di Grazia Deledda

Grazia Deledda, Nobel Prize for Literature

That tiny woman was able to enter in the hearth of the Italian and foreign literary critique. So , on 10th December 1926 happened something unexpected , unusual and absolutely unthinkable at the time: the Nobel Prize for Literature was assigned to Grazia Deledda, the highest recognition , «for her writing power, supported by an high ideal , that portrays in plastic shapes the life as it is in its private native island and that with profundity and warmth deals with problems of general human concern». Among the big narrating voices of the 20th century her tiny female Sardinian voice was felt with more power , covered the other ones, and positioned in the Olympus of the world writing. Grazia Deledda won the Nobel for all the Italian women, redeeming their sacrifices , the relegated role of wifes and mother without amibitions. With the strenght of the truth and the love of her land, Deledda arrived where no other female Italian writer has arrived before. And she wrote her immortal history of excellence.

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