*Sardinia. Italian island that is the second largest island of the Mediterranean Sea and one of the most ancient of European lands, with remnants of human habitation dating from 6000 b.c.e. Until well into the twentieth century, it remained one of the most isolated of Italian regions, maintaining its own languages and tribal customs. The literary revelation of Sardinia was the work of Grazia Deledda, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1926, with special praise by the Swedish Academy for her skilled descriptions of splendidly rugged and desolate landscapes. In the Sardinia of Deledda’s novels the vendetta remain, bandits are admired, loss of chastity is horribly punished, and emotions are always raw. Her characters are not Rousseauistic noble savages, but they are also not yet corrupted by the more subtle vices of the European mainland. As in a Homeric epic, fate broods over the landscape, which, like the weather, seems to mirror the emotions of the people.
Presbytery. Primitive Sardinian home designed for the ascetic life of a priest and a female housekeeper of “a certain age.” Paul’s housekeeper is his own widowed mother, who functions as his conscience and jailor as well. She listens to his every movement and shadows him on his pastoral rounds. The austerity of the home and its keeper serves daily to remind the young priest of the life he has been forced to renounce; no youthful...
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