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The Nobel Prize in Literature 1926
Grazia Deledda

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Grazia Deledda - Biographical

I was born in the little town of Nuoro in Sardinia in 18711. My father was a fairly well-to-do landowner who farmed his own land. He was also a hospitable man and had friends in all of the towns surrounding Nuoro. When these friends and their families had to come to Nuoro on business or for religious holidays, they usually stayed at our house. Thus I began to know the various characters of my novels. I went only to elementary school in Nuoro. After this, I took private lessons in Italian from an elementary school teacher. He gave me themes to write about, and some of them turned out so well that he told me to publish them in a newspaper. I was thirteen and I didn't know to whom I should go to have my stories published. But I came across a fashion magazine. I took the address and sent off a short story. It was immediately published. Then I wrote my first novel, Fior di Sardegna (1892) [Flower of Sardinia], which I sent to an editor in Rome. He published it, and it was quite successful. But my first real success was Elias Portolú (1903), which was first translated by the Revue des deux mondes, and then into all of the European languages. I have written a great deal:

Novels: Anime oneste, romanzo famigliare (1895) [Honest Souls], with preface by Ruggero Bonghi; Il vecchio della montagna (1900) [The Old Man of the Mountain] followed by a dramatic sketch Odio vince(1904) [HateWins] ; Elias Portolú (1903); Cenere (1904) [Ashes]; Nostalgie (1905); La via del male (1896) [The Evil Way]; Naufraghi in porto [originally Dopo il divorzio, 1902] (1920) [After the Divorce]; L'edera (1908) [The Ivy]; Il nostro padrone (1910) [Our Master]; Sino al confine (1910) [Up to the Limit]; Nel deserto (1911) [In the Desertl; Colombi e sparvieri (1912) [Doves and Falcons]; Canne al vento (1913) [Canes in the Wind]; Le colpe altrui (1914) [The Others' Faults]; Marianna Sirca (1915); L'incendio nell'oliveto (1918) [The Fire in the Olive Grove]; La Madre (1920) [The Mother]; Il segreto dell'uomo solitario (1921) [The Secret of the Solitary Man]; Il Dio dei viventi (1922) [The God of the Living]; La danza della collana (1924) [The Dance of the Necklace], followed by the dramatic sketch A sinistra (1924) [To the Left]; La fuga in Egitto (1925) [The Flight into Egypt]; Annalena Bilsini (1927).

Short Stories: «Il giuochi della vita» (1905) [The Gambles in Life]; «Chiaroscuro» (1912) [Light and Dark]; «Il fanciullo nascosto» (1915) [The Hidden Boy]; «Il ritorno del figlio» (1919) [The Son's Return]; «La bambina rubata» (1919) [The Stolen Child]; «Cattive com pagnie» (1921) [Evil Company]; «Il flauto nel bosco» (1923) [The Flute in the Wood]; «Il sigillo d'amore» (1926) [The Seal of Love].

L'edera (1912) [The Ivy], a play in three acts, with the collaboration of Camillo Antona-Traversi.

In 1900 I took my first trip. It was to Cagliari, the beautiful Sardinian capital. There I met my husband. We later moved to Rome, where I am presently living. I have also written some poems which have not been collected in a volume.

 

Biographical note on Grazia Deledda

Grazia Deledda (1875-1936) continued to write extensively after she received the Nobel Prize. La casa del poeta (1930) [The Poet's House] and Sole d'estate (1933) [Summer Sun], both collections of short stories, reflect her optimistic vision of life even during the most painful years of her incurable illness. Life remains beautiful and serene, unaltered by personal suffering; man and nature are reconciled in order to overcome physical and spiritual hardship.

In many of her later works, Grazia Deledda combined the imaginary and the autobiographical; this blend is readily apparent in her novel, Il paese del vento (1931) [Land of the Wind]. In another novel, L'argine (1934) [The Barrier], the renunciation of worldly things, including love, mirrors the life of the author who, accepting self-sacrifice as a higher manner of living, is reconciled with God. The common trait of all her later writings is a constant faith in mankind and in God.

Two of Grazia Deledda's novels were published posthumously: Cosima (1937) and Il cedro di Libano (1939) [The Cedar of Lebanon].

From Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967, Editor Horst Frenz, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969

This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and first published in the book series Les Prix Nobel. It was later edited and republished in Nobel Lectures. To cite this document, always state the source as shown above.


1. According to other sources 1875.

 

Selected Bibliography

Works by Grazia Deledda: Collections and annotated editions
Canne al vento. Ed. Lucia Genovese and Elisabetta Erre. [Annotated and illustrated ed. with a glossary]. Milano: Sedes, 1993.
Fabie e Leggende / Grazia Deledda. Ed. Bruno Rombi. Milan: Rusconi, 1994.
Leggende sarde / Grazia Deledda. Ed. Dolores Turchi. Rome: Tascabelli Economici Newton, 1999.
Novelle. Ed. Giovanna Cerina. 6 vols. Nuoro: Ilisso Edizioni, 1996 [coll. Bibiliotheca Sarda]. This edition contains the following collections of short stories:
  Vol. I: Nell'azzurro (1890); Racconti sardi (1894); L'ospite (1897); Le tentazioni (1899)
Vol. II: La regina delle tenebre (1902); I giuochi della vita (1905); Amori moderni (1907); Il nonno (1908)
Vol. III: Chiaroscuro (1912); Il fanciullo nascosto (1915)
Vol. IV: Il ritorno del figlio (1919); La bambina rubata (1919); Il flauto nel bosco (1923); Il sigillo d'amore (1926)
Vol. V: La casa del poeta (1930); Il dono di natale (1930); La vigna sul mare (1932)
Vol. VI: Sole d'estate (1933); Il cedro del libano (1939)
Opere scelte. 2 vols. Ed. Eurialo De Michelis. Milan: Mondadori 1964.
Romanzi e novelle. Ed. Natalino Sapegno. Milan: Mondadori, 1971.
Tradizioni popolari di Nuoro / Grazia Deledda; presentazione di Francesco Alziator e Fernando Pilia (- ed. anastatica da La rivista delle tradizioni popolari italiane / diretta da Angelo De Gubernatis). Cagliari: 1972.
Versi e prose giovanili. Ed. Antonio & Carmen Scano. Milan: Edizioni Vigilio, 1972.
 
Italian pocket editions
In present-day Italy, a dozen of Grazia Deledda's novels are kept in print in fine inexpensive pocket volumes, most of them published by the Mondadori publishers, Milan, in the series Scrittori del Novecento. For example:
Cenere. Ed. with an introduction and a bibliography by Vittorio Spinazzola. Milan: Arnaldo Mondadori Editore, 2001 (frequently republished and reprinted since 1961).
La chiesa della solitudine. With an introduction by Vittorio Spinazzola and an appendix by E. Ann Matter. Milan: Arnaldo Mondadori Editore, 2001 (1956-).
Cosima. With an introduction and a bibliography by Vittorio Spinazzola, and an appendix by Antonio Baldino. Milan: Arnaldo Mondadori Editore, 2001 (1947-).
Elias Portolu. Edited with an introduction, a collection of criticism, and a blbliography, by Vittorio Spinazzola. Milan: Oscar Mondadori, 2002 (1970-).
La Madre. Contains an introduction, a collection of criticism, and a bibliography by Vittorio Spinazzola. It also includes an analysis of the style and structure of the novel. Milan: Arnaldo Mondadori Editore, 2002 (1941-).
 
Secondary Literature
Agus, Serafino. Ipotesi di lettura di Grazia Deledda. Dolianova (Cagliari): Grafica del Parteolla, 1999.
Balducci, Carolyn F. A Self-made Woman: Biography of Nobel-Prize-Winner Grazia Deledda. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1975.
Capuana, Luigi. Gli "ismi" contemporanei. Verismo, simbolismo, idealismo, cosmopolitismo ed altri saggi di critica letteraria ed artistica. [Catania 1898]. Ed. Giorgio Luti. Milano: Fratelli Fabbri, 1973.
Cara, Antonio. Cenere di Grazia Deledda nelle figurazioni di Eleonora Duse. Nuoro: Istituto Superiore Regionale Etnografico, 1984.
Cirese, Alberto Mario. Intellettuali, folklore, istinto di classe: note su Verga, Deledda, Scotellaro, Gramsci. Turin: G. Einaudi, 1976.
Corda, Francesco. Grammatica moderna del sardo logudorese. Cagliari: Edizioni della Torre 1994 [on Grazia Deledda's native tongue].
Croce, Benedetto. La letteratura della nuova Italia, in: Scritti di storia letteraria e politica (several editions). Bari: 1912-1954.
De Giovanni, Neria. Il peso dell'eros: mito ed eros nella Sardegna di Grazia Deledda. Alghero (Sassari): Nemapress, 2001.
De Giovanni, Neria (ed.). Religiosità, fatalismo e magia in Grazia Deledda. Turin: Edizioni San Paolo, 1999.
Dolfi, Anna. Grazia Deledda. Milan: Mursia, 1979.
Giacobbe Harder, Maria. Grazia Deledda: introduzione alla Sardegna. Milan: Bompiani, 1973.
Kozma, Janice M. Grazia Deledda's Eternal Adolescents: The Pathology of Arrested Maturation. Madison, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2002.
Lampo, Giovanna. Grazia Deledda verista? Cagliari: Arte Duchamp, 2002.
Lawrence, D.H. Sea and Sardinia. Intro. R. Aldington. London: Heineman, 1952.
   D.H. Lawrence's foreword to Deledda's novel The Mother, which appeared in the English editions of the 1920's, is reprinted in the new edition of M.G. Steegman's translation La Madre (The Woman and the Priest) or The Mother, edited with an introduction and chronology by Eric Lane. London: Daedalus/Hippocrane, 1987.
Olla, Gianni (et al). Scenari sardi: Grazia Deledda tra cinema e televisione. [Con il soggetto scenario sardo per il cinema di Grazia Deledda, 1916]. Cagliari: Aipsa, 2001.
Pellegrino, Angelo (ed.). Metafora e biografia nell'opera di Grazia Deledda. Roma: Inst. della Enciclopedia Italiana, 1990.
Piano, Maria Giovanna. Onora la madre: Autorità femminile nella narrativa di Grazia Deledda, Turin: Rosenberg & Sellier, 1998.
Piromalli, Antonio. Grazia Deledda. Firenze: La nuova Italia, 1968.
Pittalis, Paola. Storia della Letteratura en Sardegna, Cagliari: Edizioni Della Torre, 1998.
Rasy, Elisabetta. Ritratti di signora [on Grazia Deledda, Ada Negri and Matilde Serao]. Milano: Rizzoli, 1995.
Sacchetti, Lina. Grazia Deledda: Ricordi e testimonianze. Bergamo: Minerva italica, 1971.
Vittorini, Domenico. High points in the History of Italian Literature. New York: David McKay, 1958.

 

Grazia Deledda died on August 15, 1936.

 

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