Deledda: Autobiographical Statement

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Deledda: Autobiographical Statement

(Written at the time of the awarding of the Nobel Prize)

I was born in the little town of Nuoro in Sardinia in 1871 [according to other sources, 1875]. 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) [Hate Wins]; 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 nostropadrone (1910) [Our Master]; Sino al confine (1910) [Up to the Limit]; Nel deserto (1911) [In the Desert]; 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]; Annakna 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].

[© The Nobel Foundation, 1926.]