Constructing the Self in Language and Narrative: The Work of Grazia Deledda
by Rhianedd Jewell
This book explores the torment of three Deleddian protagonists who strive to define and to control their own identities in a society that wishes to confine them: Paulo of La madre (1920), Cristiano of Il segreto dell’uomo solitario (1921) and the eponymous protagonist of Cosima (1936).
The struggles of these protagonists most clearly illustrate the fundamental relationship between identity and language, and identity and narrative in Deledda’s oeuvre. These texts are from the later period of Deledda’s writing, and fall almost two decades after her eventual departure from Sardinia in 1900. Both La madre and Il segreto dell’uomo solitario have been earmarked by various critics as signalling turning points in Deledda’s writing career: La madre for its thematic and stylistic move away from verismo, as well as its linguistic distinction from Deledda's earlier, dialectically influenced works, and Il segreto dell’uomo solitario for its engagement with psychological themes.