Grazia Deledda Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Grazia Deledda (day-LEHD-dah) was born on September 27, 1871, in the primitive Sardinian village of Nuoro, which she utilized as the background for most of her fiction. In that backward community, she was forced largely to educate herself, and she found her amusement, even as a child, in reading and writing. Her first published article appeared in a fashion magazine; before long, she was contributing successfully to Sardinian literary and political papers and journals. Knowing no other environment than her island, she began to write stories about its people and their setting. Her first major publication of fiction appeared in La tribuna, published in Rome. Before she was twenty-five, she had published three novels, all dealing with Sardinian life, and a study of traditions in her native village.

Until the late twentieth century, very few of Deledda’s many novels had been translated into English. As a result, she remained relatively unknown in the United States and Great Britain, although she was widely read on the Continent. She was a shy and retiring, even timid woman, but fame came to her unsolicited when in 1926 she was elected to the Italian Academy and in the same year was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. She was the second woman to receive that award.

In 1900, at the age of twenty-nine, Deledda married an Italian named Palmiro Madesani, a civil employee of the Italian war ministry, and then left Sardinia. She and her...

(The entire section is 468 words.)


(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Grazia Deledda was born Grazia Cosima Deledda in Nuoro, Sardinia, on September 27, 1871, the fourth of six children. Her family was moderately well-to-do. Deledda attended three elementary classes, and then repeated the third one, to receive as much schooling as possible—a common practice at that time for a boy from the lower classes or a girl who was unusually bright. Thereafter, Deledda received haphazard tutoring from a professor who happened to be in Nuoro and knew the family. She also read on her own: Eugène Sue, Alexandre Dumas, père, Sir Walter Scott, the Bible, Honoré de Balzac, Homer, and Victor Hugo. Soon, constant writing and dreaming of glory became Deledda’s occupations.

By the time Deledda was sixteen years old, she had established a network of correspondents in Sardinia and on the Continent, through the little magazines she read. In 1886, she published her first short story, in 1888 and 1889, her first feuilleton. From that point on, Deledda published children’s stories, essays on regional customs, short stories, and feuilletons, becoming a steady contributor to several literary and women’s magazines.

No matter what her ambition and her successes may have been, Deledda had soon become aware of the need to comply with the conventions of her provincial town: Her behavior, although girlish at times, was respectful of traditional rules. Nuoro society was irritated when it discovered that a local girl was...

(The entire section is 405 words.)