Grazia Deledda: The Politics of Non-Involvernent. Vilma Ricci

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1 Grazia Deledda: The Politics of Non-Involvernent Vilma Ricci A thesis submitted in conformity with the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Graduate Department of Italian Studies University of Toronto O Copyright by Vilma Ricci 2001

2 National Library Bibliothèque nationale I*I of Canada du Canada Acquisitions and Bibliograptiic Semices Acquisitions et services bibliographiques 395 Wellington Street 395. rue Wellington Ottawa ON Ki A ON4 Ottawa ON KI A ON4 Canada Canada Vour file Votre dlermce Our fije Notre reldnmce The author has granted a nonexclusive licence allowing the National Library of Canada to reproduce, loan, distribute or seil copies of this thesis in microform, paper or electronic formats. The author retains ownership of the copyright in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts fiom it may be printed or othenvise reproduced without the author's permission. L'auteur a accordé une licence non exclusive permettant à la Bibliothèque nationale du Canada de reproduire, prêter, distribuer ou vendre des copies de cette thèse sous la forme de microfiche/film, de reproduction sur papier ou sur format électronique. L'auteur conserve la propriété du droit d'auteur qui protège cette thèse. Ni la thése ni des extraits substantiels de celle-ci ne doivent être imprimés ou autrement reproduits sans son autorisation.

3 Grazia Deledda: The Politics of Non-Involvement ABSTRACT Viima Ricci Doctor of Philosophy Department of Italian Studies University of Toronto 2001 The purpose OF the present dissertation is to reappraise the work of Grazia Deledda ( ) in the light of psychological, semiotic and feminist theory introduced in Chapter 1, "Methodologies". Towards this end C hapter II, "Sy 1 tabus," reviews the social and political climate into which Deledda was born and the key events in her early family life up to the time of her mam-age in Using her personal letters and her autobiogaphical novel Cosima as primary sources, the link between Deledda's persona1 experience and her writing is established. The letters and Cosima are also analyzed in an effort to reach a better understanding of Deledda's veiled antagonism towards familial and societal restrictions. It is Our intention, in so doing, to demonstrate just how the effects of 19th-century patriarchy were negotiated by Deledda as a woman author. Paying particular attention to those episodes and relationships which influenced the ambivalent nature of her views on sexuality and gender relations Chapter III, "Marri-age of the Mind," continues to explore Deledda's obsession with such sexual themes as pathology, the consequence of that restrictive web of prohibitions which, in the lives of women, tolerated no exposure to the outside world and subverted any natural expression of sensuality.

4 Through her literary treatment of women in the short story "Battesimi" and the novel Nostalpie, the extent of autobiographical intrusion, introduced in Chapter II, is examined in more detail. Chapter IV, "The Business of Writing", investigates Deledda's entrepreneurial skills in her letters and fiction noting how she employed gender tactics to develop her career aspirations despite the opposition of her family and the pressures of society. Chapter V, "Gender Wars", examines the nature of both male and female characterization in Deledda's novels in order to uncover her views regarding inequality. Her Zanguage and images are evaluated here by enlisting semiotics to corroborate her anxiety and anger in respect to gender issues. It is our intention herein to show the author's constant awareness of women's power and potential as well as their plight at an almost total absence of legitimate channels allowing them. Deledda's profound personal frustration with sexual and professional repression will be show to have had a significant impact on the nature of the style and content of her literary output.

5 Table of Contents P reface C hapter 2 : Methodologies A- Early Cntics B. "Scrittura al femminile" C- Towd a New View of Grazia Deledda CI? D. The Function of Biography E. The Implications of Semiotics Chapter 2: Syllabus A. Sardinia in Transition B. The Decline of the Deledda Family C. Deledda's Romantic History Chapter III: Marriage of the Mind A. The Letters B. "Battesimi" Baptism by Fire C- Nostaleie and its Discontents. i) Searching the Real Stsry il) Entanglements iii) "Il fi&& abominevole" : Deledda's SexuaI Pathology Chapter N: The Business of Writing

6 Chapter V: Gender Wars A. "Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa" B. "Scribo, ergo sum" C. Cross-Gender Dressing D. Signs of the Times Conclusion Appendix: La moglie Bi bliography.. Bibliography Grazia Deledda: Selected Readings

7 Preface A spectm of views fiom the conse~vative to a still timid feminist ticket has continued to consider Grazia Deledda ( ) pnmarily through her novels, dividing them into those prior to and those followinç Il segreto dell'uorno solitario ( ), considered to be the watershed between Deledda's early Sardinian penod and a new, more intimate psychological phase in her wrïting. For the rnost part her letters have been used thus far to elaborate upon evaluations of her novels. It is the purpose of this dissertation, rather, to employ Deledda's letters in a concerted attempt to reach a better understanding of her literary reaction to the crisis of 19th-century gender issues, that growing antagonism of women towards familial and social restrictions which rnarked the age, to demonstrate how the personal and global effects of that historical penod were negotiated by Deledda as a woman author. By utilising her letters up to 1900 and her final novel Cosima, published posthumously in 1937, her ambivalent views on sexuaiity, femininity and gender relations will be seen to be the result of a number of traumatic incidents in her early experience in Sardinia. It wiil be shown how these events impacted significantly on her life as a woman and crucially influenced her development as a writer. Chapter 1 "Methodologies" will begin with a review of previous criticism of Deledda with the aim of introducing the advantages of using a variety of methodologies in the study of her work rather than remaining limited to a fixed literary focus. It is our belief that employing a spectrum of approaches yields a deeper understanding of

8 Deledda's writing as more than just a creative exercise. Together with a literary analysis, feminist, psychoanalytic and serniotic methodologies will be used to discover messages in her writing sometimes not accessible by implementing one rnethod alone. Since Deledda's early life is of utmost importance in reaching an understanding of her psychological development and of how it affected the content and style of her writing, this opening châpter will defend the use of biography and cite some of the historical/developmental background to feminisrn, psychoanalysis and semiotics. "Syllabus", Chapter II, will introduce the social and political climate into which Deledda was born. Her family life will be discussed paying particular attention to those episodes and relationships, descnbed in her correspondence and in Cosima, which parhcularly influenced the ambivalent, sometimes vague and contradictory nature of her opinions concerning sexuality and gender relations. It will become evident that because of Deledda's constant struggle to assert herself as a woman and as a writer she lived in an ongoing state of flux between submissive and rebellious moods. These struggles and temperarnents are reflected in the personalities and in the actions of many of the characters in her stories and novets. Deledda allowed hersetf to become successful through escape from her rigid patriarchal background, but it was an escape for which she invariable punished herself It will become clear that she exhibited a typical psychological dynarnic of self- flagellation for her own trespass through many of her characters, who are punished for attempts at escape fiom tradition or who fail in the wake of a short-lived success. II

9 III Chapter III, "Mamage of the Mind," will explore Deledda's obsession with writing on sexual themes as pathology, the consequence of that restrictive web OF prohibition which, in the Iives of women, tolerated no exposure to the outside world and subverted any natural expression of sensuality. This chapter will examine Deledda's chronic ambivalence on gender issues by considering her letters to Stanis Manca and Andrea Pirodda and by an analysis of the short story "Battesimi" and the nwel Nostalgie. It is through a cornpanson of her correspondence and her literary treatment of women that the extent of autobiographical intrusion into her text, a topic introduced in Chapter II, will be examined in further depth. "The Business of Writing", Chapter IV, will investigate Deledda's entrepreneurïal skills in her letters and fiction noting how she employed gender tactics to develop her forbidden career aspirations despite the opposition of farnily and the pressures of society. This topic is of special interest in that it is not ofien broached by critics as a significant influence. In fact, practical concerns impacted substantially on the nature of Deledda's writing. Ahead of her time in understanding the literary market, she employed those strategies deemed necessary to gain not only artistic recognition but also to become financially successful. As a female author Deledda cleverly concealed her practical side by directing the growth of her "business of writing" throuçh a veneer of propriety. Strategically, however, she used female tactics with editors and publishers, displaying either confidence or submission as the "usefil contact" or the monetary return dictated. Aware that as a woman she must not seem overly attentive or knowledgeable in financiai matters, Deledda carefully concealed her business acumen while at the same time

10 exaggerating her role as a primitive artist or a deiicate female. After her mamage she avoided entrepreneurial impropriety by using her husband Palmiro Madesani as a barn-er between her femininity and the investment worid. Indeed in a time when the romance novel was at its height of popularity Deledda's writing sold well to a wide Italian audience both to the traditionally-minded and liberal. Moreover, through a persistent programme of translations, Deledda easily captureci the European popular market thus notably expanding her business- Chapter V, "Gender Wars", will analyze the nature of several of Deledda's female characters in order to locate masked opinion regarding gender inequality. Consideration of Deledda's letters to Marino Moretti ( ) and an analysis of the male characters in Canne al vento, Fuga in Egitto, and L'incendio nell'oliveto, will demonstrate Deledda's notion that there exists a natural spectrum of gender traits in both men and women and that this spectrum is more acceptable than a polarization of masculinity and femininity. Enlisting semiotics and its methods, the language and images of the short stmy "La mogl ie" will be anal yzed in order to examine Deledda's attitude regarding traditional gender separation. it will be shown that, at the level of text, she was acutely aware of women's power and potential, a perception she ofien concealed in her own life yet one with which she consistently threatened the tenets of patnarchy through her works. It will be argued generally that Deledda's profound personal fmstration with her sexual and professional repression had a significant impact on the nature of her literary style and content. Determining the extent to which she reflected her own suffering and desires in her writing is, consequently, essential in evaluating her more impartially. For

11 a tum-of-the-century ltalian woman wrïter the options for success were few. An explmation of how Deiedda survived a repressive 19th-century mentality in which she was herself finnly enmeshed is to be found in her actions and in her writing. Caught in the certainty of pahiarchy, Deledda reflected a stressful reality with which she coped with varying degrees of success and of failure. An important critical goal here, then, is to find ways of accessing the impact of Deledda's life on her creative genius. While some feminist ideology may currently seek to dispel patnarchal bias by proposing genderneutral vocabularies, it is precisely within that traditional vocabulary used by Deledda that crucial information resides. Her language reflects weil the 19th-century linguistic heritage which feminist ideology rightly seeks to change; but it is only by finding our way through this gender-code6 diversionary maze that we may detemine how Our author produced her texts and through that text, defied tradition.

12 Chapter 1: Methodologies A. Early Cntics Although the witings of Grazia Deledda have rarely been at the epicentre of ltaiian critical debate, as might be expected of a Nobel Pnze winner, a series of opinions expressed over more than a century has translated into a sizable compendium of analysis covering her work from her earliest adolescent stories and poems of the 1880s to her final posthumously published Cosima quasi Grazia of Had it not been for the eriormous public popularïty of Deledda's books, no less than thirty novels, ten collections of short stories, as well as numerous articles on Sardinian folklore, it is unlikely that the controversy over her Literary significance would have burgeoned as it did. Critics were forced to deal with the reality of her success in the literary market place. The forma1 and professional promotion of Deledda's work began in the mid- 1890s with the positive reinforcement of hvo aging but still influential critics, Ruggiero Bonghi and Mario Rapisardi. Bonghi was aimost seventy at the inception of Deledda's career and had agreed to write an introduction to her 1895 novel Anime oneste. By praising Deledda's orïginality Bonghi had hoped that his introduction might assist the young and enthusiastic woman writer climb "l'erta della giovinezza." ' The wise and seasoned would promote the young and aspiring. Rapisardi's zealous appraisal of Deledda's La via del ' Amlio Momigliano, "Intomo a Grazia Deledda," Ultirni studi (Firenze: La Nuova Italia, 1954) 92.

13 male of 1896 was motivated largely by moral criteria. This critic praised Deledda's portraya1 of traditional religious and moral values coloured by her personal sense of fatalistic resignation and expiatory suffering. Rapisardi saw in the young Sardinian woman a kindred spirit and preserver of his own most cherished ideals. As he notes in a letter to the young author: A chi non piu govane e affaticato pur sempre dalla nostalgia del bene: assalito da perpetui dolori eppur sempre ostinato a credere ne1 trionfo del Vero; portato irresistibilmente a combattere i corruttori, i traficatori, gli ipocriti; la voce d'ma giovinetta d'alto ingegno e di nobile cuore giunge gradita corne gorgheggio di rosignuolo a chi si aggïra nottumo fia gli agyati e gli orrori d'ma foresta.' Luigi Capuana's interest in Deledda was less ernotional- At the tum of the century Capuana was in the process of cataloguing Italian wvriters according to literary type with a view to restorïng Italy's cultural grandeur by giving credit to its former and contemporary authors. Fast on the heels of the popularity of French "realism", his promotion of an exclusively Italian verismo included the example of Grazia Deledda in his scheme of literary "ismi" which was to become fundamental to the critical thought of the day. Thus, while he disparaged Deledda's existential ramblings and lack of philosophic conviction, he lauded her Il vecchio della montagna (1900) and Elias Portolu ( l9o3), for their realism. Unearthing and transmitting primitive Sardinian culture was, for Capuana, Deledda's prirnary contribution to verisrno. He suggested that: rbid. 93.

14 La signonna Deledda fa benissimo a non uscire dalla sua Sardegna e di continuare a lavorare in questa preziosa miniera, dove ha già trovato un forte elemento di originalità. 1 suoi personaggi non possono essere confüsi con personaggi di altre regioni; i suoi paesaggi non sono note generalita decorative. 11 lettore, chiuso il libro, conserva vivo il ncordo di quelle figure caratteristiche, di quei paesaggi grandiosi; e le irnpressioni sono cosi forti che sembrano quasi immediate, e non di seconda mano.' From the outset Deledda's realism was inexorably linked to her regionalism, a literary trend promoted by turn-o f-the-centmy critical j udgement as particularly modem and meaningful. Deledda clearly wekomed and consciously contrîbuted to reinforcing her image as a realist writer in the vein of Emile Zola and Giovami Verga and considered herself the saviour of a noble, yet waning Sardinian popular culture. Verga, the father of Italian verzsrno and a preservationist of his own Sicilian folk culture, however, acknowledged Deledda with reservation. Arnong her earliest cntics, he betrayed what would become a characteristically ambiguous reaction to Deledda's work among her contemporaries. While praising her 1904 novel Cenere, for example, Verga likened the quality of her writing to that of a German contemporary, Berthold Auerbach, an author of secondary importance and inferior talent? Later, Benedetto Croce would in like manner associate Deledda with Salvatore Farina, a minor Sardinian w-iter.' Luigi Capuana, "Grazïa Deledda - Alfiedo Pancrazi," Gli ismi contemporanei (Catania: Giamotta, 1898) ' Momigliano, Ultimi studi 94. Benedetto Croce, "Grazia Deledda," La letteratura &!la nuova Italia Ill-VI (Bari: Laterza, 1950) 321.

15 4 Qualifications and marginalizations by such influential adjudicators as Croce and Verga were to reverberate in subsequent Deleddian criticism. Partisan opinion gave rise to controversy and debate over Deledda's place and value in the literary pantheon. Among the old guard of her supporters was the influentid critic and witer Federico De Roberto who in 1904, in his review of Cenere for II Corriere della sera, praised her description of local colour and her balance of psychological introspection and romanticism which he saw as charactetistic of the great Russian novelists. As more novels and short stories appeared, Deledda criticism focussed almost exclusively on the issue of her literary allocation: whether her works should be categorized as examples of reuiismo. romanticismo, regiondisrno, decadeniismo, psicologismo or simbolismo. While Bonghi had labelled her work genencal ly as illustrative of modernisrno6, subsequent critics waged an ongoing polemic over placement and definition, a debate which witnessed heightened interest afier Deledda's Nobel Pnze in 1926 and again after her death in Suggestions of a lingering or late romon~ic~smo in Deledda's style were made by Eurelio De Michelis who, while noting Deledda's "romantic" iiterary formation, piaced her writings somewhere in the cusp between reaiismo and simbolismo. In his pivotal Grazia Deledda e il decadentismo7 of 1938, De Michelis continued a line of argumentation introduced by Arnaldo Bocelli, who had allocated Grazia Deledda "in quel 6 Ruggiero Bonghi, Preface, in Grazia Deledda, Anime oneste, (Milano: Cogliati, 1895) VII-XU. 7 Eurelio De Michelis, Grazia Deledda e il decadentismo (Firenze: La nuova Italia, 1938).

16 5 moto romantico che fu il verismo ne1 suo trapasso al simboli~mo."~ Giuseppe Dessi, from his very first reading of Deledda, vehemently opposed those who had defined her work as decadenie since decadenïisrno assumed a culture and Literary sensitivity which, in his opinion, she simply did not possess. Natalino Sapegao, on the other hand, while noting Deledda's "tecnica verista" classified her "abbandono passionale, di rivolta alle convenzioni stabilite" as "tipicarnente roman tic^."^ His 1946 "Ricordo di Grazia Deledda" expanded the discussion in literary categorization to consideration of Deledda's portrayal of the individuai within the conte.* of society, a portrayai, in Sapegno's estimation, openly fraught with conflict. He felt it was necessary for his fellow critics to exercise caution with Deledda since:... sottraendoci all'angustia e ai pregiudizi di una critica tradizionalmente attenta quasi soltanto ai valori formali, questo dobbiarno riconoscere neli'opera della Deledda: questo iniziale se breve, respiro umano;... che troppo presto si piega con le a1i spezzate sotto i dettami di una legge... di un arnbiente e di una desolata smttura sociale. 'O Sapegno's observations were j ustified. Issue-centred crïticism, comrnentary which did not necessarily deive into the significance of Deledda's content but rather argued over which current iiterary Stream codd most readily or most appropriately be Amaldo Bocelli, "In morte di Grazia Deledda," La nuova antoloma 387, (1936) Natalino Sapegno, "Ricordo di Grazia Deledda," -*ne di storia letteraria (Palerme: Manfiedi, 1960) 290. 'O Ibid. 294.

17 6 applied to her writing, seemed the contemporary nom. Such criticism was, as often as not, confùsed and self-serving. While one critic may have opposed another on the issue of classification, both might agree and laud Deledda's lyrïcism or psychological introspection. While two might concur on her innate morality, the same two might diverge on cataloguing or langage. Classification according to literary type has remained an issue, thouçh not a major one in Deleddian criticism, Mth a few lingering assignments to type spilling forward in time even into the evaluations of more contemporary critics. Olga Lombard, for example, revisits the "ismi" tradition in her 1979 Invito alla lettura di Grazia Deledda" with reference to the farniiiar categorizations of reulrsrno. drcudeniismo and simbolismo used by her predecessors. Deledda's most influential critic in the first half of the twentieth century was Benedetto Croce, Italyls most prolific, and perhaps most feared pen. Croce's focus on the cultural education of Italy during this period translated into a philosophy of the spirit wherein art was viewed as pure intuition unencumbered by leamed theory, moral intent and practical or political concerns. Croce was to base his evaluation of Deledda, characteristically, on these aesthetic principles by asserting that she lacked "il dramma del poeta e dell' artista che consiste in un certo modo energico e originale di sentire il mondo."" True poetty must, in its grandeur of spirit, inspire and universally move the reader. Croce judged Deledda to have fallen short on these important prerequisites and " Olga Lombardi, Invito alla lettura di Grazia Deledda (Milano: Munia, 1979). '* Croce, La letteratura della nuova Italia, 377.

18 found her writing repetitive and common. Thouph he recognized the beauty of her descriptions, Croce, in his distinction between poesia and non-poesia, considered Deledda uninspiring and relegated her to the latter, less felicitous, category. Apropos of the simiiarities in her many novels Croce wrote the following:... non sarebbe agevole differenziare tra loro ne1 loro merito artistico, essendo a un depresso tutti del pari piausibili, e nessuno cosi fatto da imprimersi profondamente ne1 cuore e nella fantasia dei letton. " Critics did not limit themselves to questioning Deledda's depth of spirit and literary inspiration but also focuçsed on her use of language. Her aptitude for wrïting in standard Italian, which was seen by some as deficient because of dialectal interference, was an ongoing topic of debate. The never ending discussion over lcr yuesfione dellcr Zingua, the appropriateness OF using "pure" Italian in literature, were questions treated with respect to her work by Emilio Cecchi as early as 1912." Cecchi had taken up Deledda's defence by noting her natural lyrïcism and her intentional leaning away from the use of her native dialect. Even after her death Enrico Falchi, who had been Deledda's fnend and among her strongest supporters, continued to praise her ly-ricisrn while rejecting accusations of dialect retention. In defending Deledda fiom the negative criticism irnplied by those labelling her output as examples of regzonalisnzo. Falchi characterized Deledda as having transcended national standards. Consequently he placed l3 %id '' Emilio Cecchi, "Chiaroscuro," La tribuna 14 Oct

19 her in the Company of the tinest European and international authors. By the 1940s Francesco Flora would aiso champion Deledda's style emphasizing its lwc and choral quality. For Flora, Deledda's wn-ting echoed... la stessa melodia delle singole creature vive ne1 rimio e nell'armoniuazione di quel mondo naturale e mitico e religioso che il paesaggio iscrive e interpreta in un simbolo nativo e prenne. l5 Simultaneous praise and rejection of Deledda was again symptomatic of an often ambiguous attitude towards her writing. Critics would offset a negative judgement with at least one redeeming qulity in the young author who seemed to please and yet confuse. Renato Sena, for example, had labelled Deledda's work as "cornmonplace" and "rnonotonous" as early as 19 14, l6 but qualified his criticism by adding that "... nelle pagine sempre mediocri c'è un non so che di umano e sincero, ma epicità che rende una certa luce."" Even the much acclaimed Dessi, appalled by Deledda's Nobel victory in 1926, was to temper his judgement. Having labelled her once "un gigante di furno," '' Dessi afforded Deledda at least a rnodicurn of approval by the end of his lengthy career. He thus admitted: " Francesco Flora, "Grazïa Deledday "Storia del la letteratura ital iana (Verona: Mondadori, 1965) 694. '' Renato Serra, Le lettere (Ravema: Longo, 1989) 171. l7 Serra, "Grazia Deledda", Stona della letteratura italiana, ed Emilio Cecchi (Milano: Garzanti, 1984) 479. l8 Giuseppe Dessi, Paeine di stona letteraria, ed. Natalino Sapegno (Palermo: Manfiedi, 1960) 284.

20 Cercare nella Deledda la "piacevolezza", femarsi alla sua "fathua superficiale", cioe al suo "scrivere male", rneîterla sullo stesso piano di Térésah, Neera, Zuccoli, significa lasciarsi trarre in inganno dall'estenorità, non penetrare al di là di questa, non vedere il mondo diverso da cui veniva e che tentava di rappresentare; significa metteni nell'impossibilitii di cogliere la carica essemiale e la forza poerica che fanno di lei una grande scrittrïce. l9 Others were lavish in their praise. The Nobel selection cornmittee of 1926 drew considerable attention to Deledda's fine Christian virtues of female àiscretion and modesty. In his presentation ofthe Nobel Prize in December of 1927, Heinrich Schuck introduced Grazia Deledda to the audience in this manner:... non ha mai preso parte nelle lotte politiche, sociali e letterarie... ha vissuto la propria vita tranquilla, Lontana dai. rumori del mondo... vede gli uomini quali sono, pur credendo che potrcbbero essere rnigliori, e che nessm dtro, all'i~ori d'essi medesimi mette ostacolo afl'awento del regno di Dio." Certainly the religious and moral character of Deledda's works secured for her, in the Nobel cornmittee's estimation and among the reading public at large, an added grassroots popularity which contemporary authors, such as the cerebral Pirandello, could not win and did not soon enjoy. 19 Giuseppe Dessi, "Grazia Deledda cent'anni dopo," La nuova antoloma, 5 13 ( 197 1) 'O Hei~ch Schuck, "Discorso ufficiale per il confenrnento del Premio Nobel a Grazia Deledda, Dec. 10, " Grazia Deledda: Biosafia e Romanzo (Roma: : Enciclopedia Italiana Treccani: Roma

21 10 The unconditional adoration of Deledda by Attilio Momigliano reflected the persona1 convictions which characterized an older, more conservative wave of society. Momigliano directed his attention towards Deledda's "indefinibile elevatezza morale"" by commenting: Ce in lei qualche cosa di patriarcale e di vergine, un istintivo attingere alle profondità originarie della nostra natura, e quel Fondo indiscriminato di psicologia che si ntrova piu alle sorgenti della vita civile che ne1 suo progres~o.~ Moreover, besides Francesco Di Pilla and Attilio De Michelis, who later gathered and published much of Deledda's correspondence, it was Momigliano who in 1936 first initiated the recovery of Deledda's letters fiom her son Santus with an obvious sense of devotion and respect for the traditional patnarchal values he felt she exemplified. Deledda's designation as a "regional" writer was securely established among her critics by her early twenties. She had, in fact, worked hard towards positioning herseif as the leading Sardinian researcher for Angelo De Gubematis's compendium of Italian regional folklore being çathered late in the 19th century." In 1893 she was appointed conslglïeru of the Sassari division of "La società per le tradizioni popolari italiane" by 2' Attilio Momigliano, "Intorno a Grazia Deledda," Ultimi studi 82. (Orig-inally in fi comere della sera, June 15, 1946.) 23 Articles for the "Rivista delle tradizîoni popolari italiane" were collected by Angelo De Gubernatis between and

22 11 virtue of her research articles and stories related to Sardinian customs and folklore." By taking this direction, Deledda had self-defined her culture, and perhaps by association, her literary limits as singularly insular in more than just a geographic sense. Certainly the Sardinian content of her stories and novels was enough to dispel any doubt among her critics as to her first loyalty. Even when she later transposed the settings of her works to mainland sites such as the Po Valley in L'ombra del Dassato (1907), or to a Meditemean sea-coast town in Il paese del vento (1931), there remained an aura of provincialism in her writing which tended to marginalize it in the minds of many a mainstream critic. Even her 1924 Danza della collana, considered to be among her more modem novels, is set in the outskirts of Rome, in the suburbs of the capital rather than at the epicentre of Italian cultural life? It was specifically Deledda's portrayal of remote settings, especially those still rooted in the folklore and mythology of her native island, that drew many a foreign critic to respond more positively than even her mainland judges or her Sardinian compatriots. For the foreign critic Deledda's detachment seemed to imply prima1 passions hidden in ancient societies. Indeed, the portrayal of uncontrollable and illicit loves seemed " "Sangue sardo" (1 888) and "Eleonora D'Arbores" ( 1889) were published in Ultima moda by Petino; "II castello di San Loor" (1889) and "Il castello di San Onofrio" ( ) in La Sardema. "Nuoro" (1 892) appeared in Le cento città d'italia while "La doma in Sardegna" (1 893) and "Leggende sarde" (1 894) were published in Natura e arte in Milan. "Lauda di Sant'Antoniot', (1 893) was published in Rivista delle tradizioni ~ormlaritaliane; "Albo di costurni e tipi sardi" (1900) in Rivista per sirnorine. "Tipi e paesaggi sardi" (1900), was published in La nuova antologia. 25 Grazia Deledda, Danza della collana (Milano: Mondadori, 1982).

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