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...
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