Grazia Deledda

 The Nobel Prize in Literature 1926

Grazia Deledda wrote over thirty novels, four hundred short stories, a play, an opera-libretto, some poems and translated Balzac’s Eugénie Grandet into Italian in 1930.

[Deledda] belongs to more than just her own day. She does more than reproduce the temporary psychological condition of her period. She has a background, and she deals with something more fundamental than sophisticated feeling . . . what she does do is create the passionate complex of a primitive populace. –D.H. Lawrence

Although Grazia Deledda spent most of her adult life in Rome, much of her writing is set in Sardinia, where she was born.

Nuoro in Italy

 Photo: Anders Hallengren 

Here’s a sample of her lovely descriptive writing taken from her short story While the East Wind Blows

Outside, the moon still ran behind diaphanous clouds, and in the silvery night, the east wind carried the scent of the sea and the warmth of the desert.

Outside the bells chimed joyfully, and the east wind spread the metallic sound in the tepid damp of the dusk.

The Deledda home in Nuoro, Sardinia figures in many of Grazia Deledda’s novels and short stories.

Deledda's home

Photo: Anders Hallengren

When these friends and their families came 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.

In her last novel published before her death, The Church of Solitude, Deledda’s protagonist, Marie Concezione, suffers from breast cancer, a malady which led to Deledda’s death in 1936. Cancer was then not only an incurable disease but also a secretive one.

They (Concezione and Aroldo, a boy in love with her) spoke about this illness as little as possible, like  a mysterious thing. Even its terrible name, that not even the doctors had pronounced clearly, remained deep in their hearts with a secret agreement to never reveal it, not even to themselves.

 For a bibliography of her work click here.

 Do you draw characters for your writing from friends and acquaintances?

31 thoughts on “Grazia Deledda

  1. Yes. I do. As writers we cannot help it – we study behaviours and/or attitudes. A little psychology knowledge is pretty useful when ‘selling’ our characters to the more or less sympathetic readers.

  2. I do draw characters from the traits and quirks of people I’ve met along the way ~ friends, family members, strangers, co-workers, etc. People watching gives us ample ideas to write about.

    Thanks for the intro. I’ve never heard of this prolific author, Carol.

    • Thanks for your comment, Nancy
      Do the people tend to recognize themselves in your writing?
      I also draw from friends, family or other acquaintances. It makes it easier to keep track of my characters (age, description). Of course, I make significant changes, such as hair color or even sex. .

  3. Absolutely I do. And names as well. I name the villains after certain high school acquaintances. 🙂 Very inspiring post and what a beautiful place for Grazia to use as inspiration!

    • That’s a brilliant idea to name the villains after certain high school acquaintances. 🙂
      It’s interesting that although she lived in Rome for most of her adult life, she set most of her novels in Sardinia. Thank you for your comment. It made me more aware of the importance of setting. 🙂
      Have a wonderful weekend.

  4. DH Lawrence was right… Sardinia is an amazing “wild” island, compared to Sicily, I’m not surprised she loved it… she’s reminded me of Sigrid Undset whose novels are more popular in France than hers; in fact, they’re both from the same generation as SU won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928… 3 years ago, I visited her home in Lillehammer, Norway: 🙂
    http://myvirtualplayground.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/lillehammer-norway-no-connexion-with-sochi/

  5. Embarrassingly I had never heard of Deledda. I pull my characters out of the ether and slowly get to know them. If I find anyone turning into someone I know – or a character in another book – then I set them off down a different path. I do borrow little characteristics, a walk, a hair flick, or similar. Maybe I’m a conflict avoider like Carrie.

    • There are too many good novelists for anyone to know them all. Especially, when the author is from the twenties.
      I also tend to borrow characteristics. The fun of it is that you can mix and match different characteristics of people you know with different characters.
      Hope you’re enjoying your weekend, Hilary.

  6. What a truly interesting and lovely writer! I shall certianly look up more of her work. I also thank you for finding and following my blog. My characters come from family and friends and a past lover or two. My blog is a bit of a mishmash, but I enjoy doing it. The bane and joy of my existence are the classical haiku I write. I am never satisfied but, I am always at peace when one is pulled from deep inside and placed upon the page. I am a foodie and historian and enjoy writing about a recipe or memory that is part of the recipe. I hope you will visit often, feel welcome, and enjoy your visit. I am looking for to future posts from you.

    • Thank you for stopping by and for your comments.Thank you also for sharing a bit more about yourself. One of the joys for me of blogging is getting to know the bloggers I follow, beyond their work.
      I certainly look forward to visiting your blog and will look for your signature haikus and perhaps pick up a recipe or two.
      I wish you a lovely Fathers’ Day weekend. 🙂

  7. I enjoyed this Nobel Prize winner and read a piece of her biography. Only ten pages were accessible but I grew to love who she was. In the video on the day she went to Stockholm to accept the award, she looked so sad. It probably was due to her nervousness. I don’t think she went out much. Kind of a loner. She would have had to have been in order to write so much. Thanks for sharing. I just spent a couple of hours reading up on her. It always amazes me how these women impact my life.

    • Yes, these women do impact your life, Drew. It’s both curious and interesting.
      I agree that to write so much you’d have to be somewhat of a loner…living in her imagination. It’s kind of a scary thought…I found that her photos showed peacefulness but then that’s only a click of a moment and so I am certain she had her trials as well. I also found her rather stern in the video. Only at the end did she crack a smile. Maybe it was nerves or being overwhelmed by it all. Hugs. Carol

    • I left a comment of appreciation on your my real life reviews blog. You sure are busy with different blogs. Anyway, thank you so much for your post on Missi’s dating Adventures. I only hope that others like it as much as you did. 🙂

  8. I am so impressed with Grazia Deledda’s body of work. As you mentioned so many possible obstacles, due to the times and way of life in the 30’s in Sardinia, Italy. I liked D.H. Lawrence’s tribute. Also, was so glad you included quotations of the lyrical way she wrote about her home and countryside. Illness in one of her characters, then her own cancer, then being secretive, all makes this such an inspirational woman you featured.

    • Thanks, Robin, for this great summary. I think all these women that i have featured on my Nobel Prize Winners in Literature series are incredibly talented and devoted women.Their writing is embedded in their hearts and souls.

  9. Pingback: Upon Receiving The Premio Dardos Award | The Human Lens

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