1926 : Grazia Deledda

1926 : Grazia Deledda

“for her idealistically inspired writings which with plastic clarity picture the life on her native island and with depth and sympathy deal with human problems in general”

Born

:

September 27, 1871

Place of birth

:

Nuoro, Sardinia

Died

:

August 15, 1936

Place of death

:

Rome, Italy

Occupation

:

Writer, Novelist

Nationality

:

Italy

Notable award(s)

:

Nobel Prize in Literature 1926

Biography:

Born in Nuoro, Sardinia, into a bourgeois family, she attended elementary school and then was educated by a private tutor (a guest of one of her relatives) and moved on to study literature on her own. She first published some novels on the magazine L’ultima moda when it still published works in prose and poetry. Nell’azzurro, published by Trevisani in 1890 might be considered as her first work. Still between prose and poetry are, among the first works, Paesaggi sardi, published by Speirani in 1896. In 1900, after having married Palmiro Madesani, functionary of the Ministry of War met in Cagliari in the October of 1899, the writer moved to Rome and after the publishing of Anime oneste in 1895 and of Il vecchio della montagna in 1900, plus the collaboration with magazines La Sardegna, Piccola rivista and Nuova Antologia, her work began to gain critical interest. In 1903 she published Elias Portolu that confirmed her as a writer and started her work as a successful writer of novels and theatrical works: Cenere (1904), L’edera (1906), Sino al confine (1911), Colombo e sparvieri (1912 ), Canne al vento (1913), L’incendio nell’oliveto (1918), Il Dio dei venti (1922). Cenere was the inspiration for a movie with the famous Italian actress Eleonora Duse. She died in Rome at the age of 64.

Works:

Selected works:

  • NELL’AZZURRO, 1890

  • STELLA D’ORIENTE, 1890

  • FIOR DI SARDEGNA, 1891

  • AMORE REGALE, 1891

  • RACCONTI SARDI, 1894

  • ANIME ONESTE, 1895

  • TRADIZIONI POPOLARI DI NUORO IN SARDEGNA, 1895

  • LA VIA DEL MALE, 1896

  • IL TESORO, 1897

  • PAESAGGI SARDI, 1897

  • LA GIUSTIZIA, 1899

  • IL VECCHIO DELLA MONTAGNA, 1900

  • DOPO IL DIVERZIO, 1902 – After the Divorce (translations by Maria Hornor Lansdale; Susan Ashe)

  • LA REGINA DELLE TENEBRE, 1902

  • ELIAS PORTOLU, 1903 – Elias Portolu (tr. by Martha King) – Elias Portolu: romaani (suom. Jalmari Hahl)

  • CENERE, 1904 – Ashes (tr. by Jan Kozma) – film 1916, dir. by Febo Mari, written by Eleonora Duse, starring Eleonora Duse, Febo Mari, Misa Mordeglia Mari

  • NOSTALGIE, 1905 – Kotikaiho: avioliittoromaani (suom. Jalmari Hahl)

  • L’EDERA, 1908 – Muratti (suom. Jalmari Hahl) – film 1950, dir. by Augusto Genina, screenplay by Vitaliano Brancati, starring Roldano Lupi, Columba Dominguez, Juan de Landa, Emma Baron

  • IL NONNO, 1909

  • IL NOSTRO PADRONE, 1910

  • COLOMBI E SPARVIERI, 1912

  • CANNE AL VENTO, 1913 – Reeds in the Wind (tr. by Martha King) – TV film 1958, DIR. BY Mario Landi, written by Gian Paolo Callegari

  • LE COLPE ALTRUI, 1914

  • MARIANNA SIRCA, 1915 – Marianna Sirca (tr. by Jan Kozma) – Marianna (suom. Jalmari Hahl) – film: Amore rosso, 1952, dir. by Aldo Vergano, starring Marina Berti, Massimo Serato, Guido Celano

  • L’INCENDIO NELL’OLIVETO, 1918

  • LA MADRE, 1920 – The Mother (tr. by Mary G. Steegmann) / The Woman and the Priest (tr. by Mary G. Steegmann, introduction by D.H. Lawrence) – Aiti (suom. Jalmari Hahl) – film: Proibito, 1954, dir. by Mario Monicelli, starring Mel Ferrer, Amedeo Nazzari, Lea Massari

  • IL SEGRETO DELL’UOMO SOLITARIO, 1921 – film 1988, dir. by Ernesto Guida, starring Giulio Bosetti, Mimsy Farmer, Nada, Didi Perego, Riccardo Cucciolla

  • LA GRAZIA, 1921 (opera libretto based on Deledda’s short story, written and composed by Vincenzo Michetti) – film 1929, dir. by Aldo De Benedetti, written by Grazia Deledda, Claudio Guastalla, Vincenzo Michetti

  • IL DIO DEI VIVENTI, 1922

  • LA FUGA IN EGITTO, 1925 – Pako Egyptiin (suom. Jalmari Hahl)

  • ANNALENA BILSINI, 1927

  • LA CASA DEL POETA, 1930

  • IL PAESE DEL VENTO, 1931

  • SOLE D’ESTATE, 1933

  • LA VIGNA SUR MARE, 1932

  • LA CHIESA DELLA SOLITUDINE, 1936 – The Church of Solitude (tr. by E. Ann Matter)

  • COSIMA, 1937 – Cosima (tr. by Martha King)

Awards:

1926: Nobel Prize in Literature.

Prose:

While the East Wind Blows

According to an ancient Sardinian legend, the bodies of those who are born on Christmas Eve will never dissolve into dust but are preserved until the end of time.

Now this was the natural subject of conversation in the house of the rich peasant Diddinu Frau, called Zio (uncle) Diddinu. His daughter’s fiance, Predu Tasca, raised the objection:

“But for what purpose? To what use is our body to us when we are dead?”

“Well,” answered the peasant, “isn’t it a divine grace not to be reduced to ashes? And when we arrive at the universal judgment, would it not be wonderful to find one’s body intact?”

“Pooh, would it really be that great?” Predu replied, looking very skeptical.

“Listen, my son-in-law,” the peasant exclaimed, “the topic is a good one. Shall we sing about it tonight?”

We ought to be aware that Uncle Diddinu was an extemporaneous poet, like his father had been and his grandfather, too. Joyfully he seized every opportunity to propose a contest of extemporaneous song, especially whenever there were poets around who were less skillful than himself.

“Oh,” Maria Franzisca observed, making herself as graceful as she could since her beloved looked at her, “the argument is a little gloomy.”

“Shut up! You can go to bed!” the father shouted rudely at her.

Although he was a poet, Diddinu was a wild and brutal man who dealt severely with his family, in particular with his daughters. His family respected him, but they all feared him. In the presence of her father, Maria Franzisca would hardly have dared to sit down close to her dear Predu. According to the custom of engaged couples, she kept a distance from her fiance, only to charm him more, enticing him with the lovely movements of her body, veiled in the fleecy scarlet vest embroidered with flowers, and the blazes of her turquoise-green, almond-shaped eyes.

Thus, it was Christmas Eve—a gray day, dimmed but mild since an east wind was blowing, carrying the enervating warmth of distant deserts and a humid scent of the sea.

It appeared that, somewhere among the mountains, their slopes green from the cold grass of winter, or in the valleys where the shaking almond trees prematurely bloomed, throwing to the wind the white petals of snow as if from harm, there burned a great fire, the flames of which were not seen, but which was the source of the heat. And the clouds incessantly issuing from the mountaintops and spanning the sky seemed to be the smoke of that invisible fire.

The country sounded from the ringing of feast; people, yielding to the strange Levantine wind, crowded streets and houses, gathering to celebrate the birth of Christ. Families exchanged their gifts: suckling pigs roasted whole, lambs of autumn, meat, sweets, cakes, and dried fruit. Shepherds brought to their masters the first milk of their calves, and the lady of the house returned the container to the shepherds, filled with vegetables or other things, having first carefully emptied it in order not to bring down ruin on the cattle.

Predu Tasca, who was a swineherd, had accordingly killed his finest little pig, painted it with its blood, filled it with bundles of asphodel, and sent it as a gift to his fiancee. And his fiancee returned the basket with a cake of honey and almonds, giving a scudo of silver [5 lire] to the woman who brought it.

Towards evening, the young man came to the house of the Frau’s and pressed his young lady’s hand. She blushed, radiant with joy, and withdrew her hand from his grip; but in her palm, hot from the amorous squeeze, she found a gold coin concealed. In the next moment, she went about the house discreetly showing Predu’s beautiful present.

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

Predu wore the splendid national costume of medieval origin, a blue velvet vest and short black woolen coat finely embroidered, an ornate waist belt of leather, and filigree buttons of gold. His long black hair covered his ears and was carefully combed and greased with olive oil; and since he had already had some wine and anisette, his black eyes beamed, and his red lips burned in his black beard. He was as sound and handsome as a rural god.

“Bonas tardas,” he said and sat down close to his father-in-law at the hearth, where a log of holly was burning. “May the Lord grant you a hundred Christmases! How are you?”

“Like an old vulture that has lost its claws,” the wild, aging farmer replied. Then he recited the famous verse:

S’omine cando est bezzu no est bonu… (When the man gets old, he is good for nothing.)

This way they got on to the legend about people born on Christmas Eve.

“Let us go to mass,” Uncle Diddinu said. “When we get back, we will enjoy a good supper, and then we shall sing!”

“We can sing before, too, if you want.”

“Not now!” Diddinu replied, striking the stick on the stones of the hearth. “As long as the holy eve lasts, it must be respected. Our Lady suffers the pains of delivery, and we may not eat meat, nor may we sing. O, good evening, Mattia Portolu! Please be seated and tell us of the others who will come. Maria Franzisca, pour out well! Bring these little lambs something to drink.”

The young lady served her fiance; and when she bent beside him to give him the glass, which scintillated as a ruby, he became drunk with her smile and her looks. In the meantime, the newcomer told of the friends who were to arrive.

The women were already busy at the hearth in the center of the kitchen, preparing the supper. On the one side of the four stones enclosing the hearth in the middle of the floor, the men were sitting; on the other, the women were cooking. Half of the pig that Predu had sent as a present was already roasting on a long skewer, and a pleasant odor of food filled the kitchen.

Two old relatives arrived, two brothers who had never married because they did not want to divide their inheritance. They looked like two patriarchs with their long hair curled over the large white beards.

Then came a blind young man, who groped about the stone walls, on the beat of his thin stick of oleander.

One of the old brothers took Maria Franzisca around the waist, pushed her towards the fiance, and said, “What’s the matter with you, little lambs of my heart? Why are you as distant from each other as the stars of heaven? Hold your hands, embrace…”

The two young people regarded each other, burning with desire; but Uncle Diddinu raised a thundering voice:

“Old ram! Leave them in peace! They do not need your counsels.”

“I know, and nor do they need yours! They will find ways to be their own masters.”

“If that were to happen,” the peasant said, “I would have to drive away that young man as the wasps are driven away. Fill up, Maria Franzisca!”

The young woman extricated herself from the arms of the old man, a bit affronted.

Smiling and adjusting his woolen cap, Predu said, “Well, thus we may neither eat nor sing nor do anything else… but drink?”

“You can do anything you wish, because God is grand,” the blind man murmured, seated beside the son-in-law. “Glory to God in the heavens and peace on earth to all men of good will!”

And so they drank—and how heavily!

Predu alone barely bathed his lips at the hem of the glass.

Outside the bells were ringing. Songs and cries of merriment were carried by the wind. Toward eleven, all rose to attend the midnight mass. In the house only the old grandmother stayed, who in her youth had learned that, on Christmas night, the dead return to visit the houses of their kinsfolk. For this reason, she performed an ancient rite: setting out a plate of food and a clay jug of wine for the dead. And that custom she followed this Christmas, too. As soon as she was alone, she got up, brought the wine and the food, and put it on a ladder outside the house, which led from the courtyard to the rooms upstairs.

A poor neighbor, who was accustomed to the old woman’s practice, accordingly climbed the ring wall of the farmstead and emptied the plate and the jug.

As soon as they all had returned from mass, the old and the young merrily assembled for supper. Big sacks of wool were put on the floor and were covered with homespun linen tablecloths.

In great yellow and red clay containers smoked the maccheroni made by the women, and on the wooden chopping-board, Predu skillfully sliced the well-done pig. All sat on the floor, on mats and bags; a powerful flame crackled on the hearth, throwing a red light on the faces of the guests; the scene seemed Homeric. And how they tippled!

After supper, the women had to withdraw, as was the rigid wish of the host. The men sat or lay down around the hearth and began to sing. All faces were scarlet, their eyes languid but lucent. The old peasant began the contest:

Duncas, gheneru meu, ello ite naras,

Chi a sett’unzas de terra puzzinosa…

“So, my son-in-law,” the old one sang, “tell me what is best: to be reduced to seven ounces of despicable earth… or to find our body again intact on the day of the universal judgment?”

Predu adjusted his cap and responded.

“The topic is dead serious,” he sang. “Let us think of other things and sing the praises of love, celebrate pleasure, and ‘sas Venus hermosas’ [the Venus-like beauties] in song, and other graceful and delightful things.”

All, except the old peasant, applauded this pagan stanza. The old poet was annoyed and replied in verse that his opponent did not want to answer because he did not feel himself capable of dealing with the highest subjects.

Then Predu once again adjusted his cap and answered, all the time in Sardinian verse:

“Well, since you really want it, I will answer you. The argument does not appeal to me because it is sad; I do not want to think of death on this night of joy and life. But since that is your wish, I say to you: it is of no importance to me whether our body remains intact or is dissolved. What are we after death? Nothing. The essential thing is that the body is healthy and vigorous during life, so that we may work and enjoy… nothing but that!”

The peasant retorted. And Predu objected over and again, always embracing the pleasures and joys of life. The two old siblings applauded it; even the blind man gave signs of approval. The peasant pretended to get angry, but at heart he was content that his son-in-law proved to be a good poet. That foreboded a continuation of the glorious traditions of the family!

But even as he tried to demonstrate the vanity of the pleasures of the body, Uncle Diddinu drank and urged the others to drink too. Towards three o’clock in the morning, all were drunk; only the blind man, a formidable drinker, and Predu, who had drunk very little, had preserved their clarity of mind.

But Predu had been inebriated by his song, and as the hours passed, the memory of a promise Maria Franzisca had given him made him tremble with joy. Little by little, the voice of the singers became weaker; the old one began to stutter; the young man pretended to be sleepy. Finally, all dozed off; only the blind one remained seated, silently nibbling at the rough knob of his cane.

Suddenly, the rooster sang in the courtyard.

Predu opened his eyes and watched the blind man.

“He does not see me,” he thought, raising himself cautiously; and he went out into the yard.

Maria Franzisca silently came down the outer ladder, and fell into his arms.

But the blind man knew that someone had left and gone outside; he thought it was Predu. He did not move but only murmured: “Glory to God in heaven and peace on earth to the men of good will.”

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.

Presentation Speech:

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1926 was announced on November 10, 1927

Presentation Speech by Henrik Schuck, President of the Nobel Foundation, on Decmber 10, 1927

The Swedish Academy has awarded the Nobel Prize of 1926 to the Italian author Grazia Deledda.

Grazia Deledda was born in Nuoro, a small town in Sardinia. There she spent her childhood and her youth, and from the natural surroundings and the life of the people she drew the impressions which later became the inspiration and the soul of her literary work.

From the window of her house she could see the nearby mountains of Orthobene with their dark forests and jagged grey peaks. Farther off was a chain of limestone mountains which sometimes appeared violet, sometimes lemon-coloured, sometimes dark blue, depending on the variations of the light. And in the distance, the snowy peaks of Gennargentu emerged.

Nuoro was isolated from the rest of the world. The few visitors to the town usually arrived on horseback, with the women mounted behind the men. The monotony of daily life was interrupted only by traditional religious or popular holidays and by the songs and dances in the main street at carnival time.

In this environment, Grazia Deledda’s view of life developed into something uniquely ingenuous and primitive. In Nuoro it was not considered shameful to be a bandit. Do you think, says an old peasant woman in one of Deledda’s novels, that bandits are bad people? Well, you’re wrong. They are only men who need to display their skill, that’s all. In the old days men went to war. Now there aren’t any more wars, but men still need to fight. And so they commit their holdups, their thefts, and their cattle stealing, not to do evil but only to display somehow their ability and their strength. Thus the bandit rather enjoys the sympathy of the people. If he is caught and put in prison, the peasants have an expressive phrase which means that he has run into trouble. And when he is freed no stigma is attached to him. In fact, when he returns to his home town, he is greeted with the words, More such trouble a hundred years from now!

The vendetta is still the custom in Sardinia, and a person is respected if he takes blood revenge on the killer of a kinsman. Indeed, it is considered a crime to betray the avenger. One author writes, Even if the reward on his head were three times its size, not a single man in the whole district of Nuoro could be found to betray him. Only one law reigns there: respect for a man’s strength and scorn of society’s justice.

In this town, so little influenced by the Italian mainland, Grazia Deledda grew up surrounded by a savagely beautiful natural setting and by people who possessed a certain primitive grandeur, in a house that had a sort of biblical simplicity about it. We girls, Grazia Deledda writes, were never allowed to go out except to go to Mass or to take an occasional walk in the countryside. She had no chance to get an advanced education, and like the other middle-class children in the area, she went only to the local school. Later she took a few private lessons in French and Italian because her family spoke only the Sardinian dialect at home. Her education, then, was not extensive. However, she was thoroughly acquainted with and delighted in the folk songs of her town with its hymns to the saints, its ballads, and its lullabies. She was also familiar with the legends and traditions of Nuoro. Furthermore, she had an opportunity at home to read a few works of Italian literature and a few novels in translation, since by Sardinian standards her family was relatively well-to-do. But this was all. Yet the young girl took a great liking to her studies, and at only thirteen she wrote a whimsical but tragic short story, Sangue Sardo (1888) [Sardinian Blood], which she succeeded in publishing in a Roman newspaper. The people at Nuoro did not at all like this display of audacity, since women were not supposed to concern themselves with anything but domestic duties. But Grazia Deledda did not conform; instead she devoted herself to writing novels: first, Fior di Sardegna [Flower of Sardinia], published in 1892; then La via del male (1896) [The Evil Way], Il vecchio della montagna (1900) [The Old Man of the Mountain], Elias Portolu (1903), and others with which she made a name for herself She came to be recognized as one of the best young female writers in Italy.

She had, in fact, made a great discovery – she had discovered Sardinia. In the middle of the eighteenth century a new movement had arisen in European literature. Writers at that time were tired of the models constantly drawn from Greek and Roman literature. They wanted something new. Their movement quickly joined forces with another which had begun in the same epoch with Rousseau’s adoration of man in his natural state, untouched by civilization. The new school formed from these two movements advanced and gained force, articularly in the great days of Romanticism. The school’s most recent trophies have been won by the work of Grazia Deledda. It is true that in descriptions of local colour and peasant life she had predecessors even in her own country. The so-called regionalist school in Italian literature had had such notable representatives as Verga, in his descriptions of Sicily, and Fogazzaro, in his descriptions of the Lombardo-Veneto region. But the discovery of Sardinia decidedly belongs to Grazia Deledda. She knew intimately every corner of her native land. She stayed in Nuoro until she was twenty-five; only then did she find the courage to go to Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia. Here she met Madesani, the man whom she married in 1900. After her marriage she and her husband moved to Rome, where she divided her time between her work as a writer and her family duties. In the novels written after she moved to Rome, she continued to deal with Sardinian subjects as in the work entitled L’Edera (1908) [The Ivy]. But in the novels written after L’Edera, the action frequently takes place in a less localized atmosphere, as, for example, in her most recent novel La Fuga in Egitto (1925) [The Flight into Egypt], which the Academy has examined and appreciated. However, her conception of man and nature is, as always, fundamentally Sardinian in character. Although she is now artistically more mature, she remains the same serious, eloquent, but unpretentious writer who wrote La via del male and Elias Portolu.

It is rather difficult for a foreigner to judge the artistic merit of her style. I shall therefore quote one of the most famous Italian critics on this matter. Her style, he writes, is that of the great masters of the narrative; it has the characteristic marks of all great novelists. No one in Italy today writes novels which have the vigour of style, th power of craftsmanship, the structure, or the social relevance which i found in some, even the latest, works of Grazia Deledda such as La Madre (1920) [The Mother] and Il Segreto dell’uomo solitario (1921) [The Secret of the Solitary Man]. One might note only that her composition does not have the strong consistency which might be desired; unexpected passages often give the impression of hasty transitions. But this defect is more than generously compensated for by her many virtues. As a painter of nature she has few equals in European literature. She does not uselessly waste her vivid colours; but even then, the nature which she describes has the simple, broad lines of ancient landscapes, as it has their chaste purity and majesty. It is a marvellously lively nature in perfect harmony with the psychological life of her characters. Like a truly great artist, she succeeds in incorporating her representation of people’s sentiments and customs into her descriptions of nature. Indeed, one need only recall the classic description of the pilgrim’s sojourn on Mount Lula in Elias Portolu. They depart on a May morning. Family after family ascends toward the ancient votive church, some on horseback, some in old wagons. They carry along enough provisions to last a week. The wealthier families lodge in the great shelter standing next to the church. These families are descended from the church’s founders, and each has a spike in the wall and a hearth to indicate the area which belongs to it. No one else can set foot in this area. Each evening the families gather in their respective areas for as long as the feast lasts. They cook their food over the fireplace and tell legends, play music, and sing during the long summer night. In the novel La via del male, Grazia Deledda describes equally vividly the strange Sardinian marriage and funeral customs. When a funeral is to take place, all of the doors are shut, all of the shutters are closed, every fire is put out, no one is permitted to prepare food, and hired mourners wail their improvised dirges. The descriptions of such primitive customs are so lifelike and so simple and natural that we are almost moved to call them Homeric. In Grazia Deledda’s novels more than in most other novels, man and nature form a single unity. One might almost say that the men are plants which germinate in the Sardinian soil itself The majority of them are simple peasants with primitive sensibilities and modes of thought, but with something in them of the grandeur of the Sardinian natural setting. Some of them almost attain the stature of the monumental figures of the Old Testament. And no matter how different they may seem from the men we know, they give us the impression of being incontestably real, of belonging to real life. They in no way resemble theatrical puppets. Grazia Deledda is a master of the art of fusing realism with idealism.

She does not belong to that band of writers who work on a thesis and discuss problems. She has always kept herself far removed from the battles of the day. When Ellen Key once tried to interest her in such discussions, she answered, I belong to the past. Perhaps this confession of attitude is not completely just. Certainly Grazia Deledda feels tied by strong bonds to the past, to the history of her people. But she also knows how to live in and respond to her own times. Although she lacks interest in theories, she has a great deal of interest in every aspect of human life. She writes in a letter, Our great anguish is life’s slow death. This is why we must try to slow life down, to intensify it, thus giving it the richest possible meaning. One must try to live above one’s life, as a cloud above the sea. Precisely because life seems so rich and admirable to her, she has never taken sides in the political, social, or literary controversies of the day. She has loved man more than theories and has lived her own quiet life far from the world’s uproar. Destiny, she writes in another letter, caused me to be born in the heart of lonely Sardinia. But even if I had been born in Rome or Stockholm, I should not have been different. I should have always been what I am – a soul which becomes impassioned about life’s problems and which lucidly perceives men as they are, while still believing that they could be better and that no one else but themselves prevents them from achieving God’s reign on earth. Everything is hatred, blood, and pain; but, perhaps, everything will be conquered one day by means of love and good will.

These last words express her vision of life, a serious and profound vision with a religious cast. It is frequently sad, but never pessimistic. She believes that the forces of good ultimately will triumph in the life struggle. The principle which dominates all her work as a writer is represented clearly and concisely at the end of her novel Cenere (1904) [Ashes]. Anania’s mother is ruined. In order not to be an obstacle to her son’s happiness, she has taken her own life and now lies dead before him. When he was only a baby, she had given him an amulet. He opens it and finds that it contains only ashes. Yes, all was ashes: life, death, man; the very destiny which produced her. And still in the last hour, as he stood before the body of the most miserable of human creatures, who after doing and suffering evil in all of its manifestations had died for someone else’s good, he remembered that among the ashes there often lurks the spark of a luminous and purifying flame. And he hoped. And he still loved life.

Alfred Nobel wanted the Prize in Literature to be given to someone who, in his writings, had given humanity that nectar which infuses the health and the energy of a moral life. In conformity with his wishes, the Swedish Academy has awarded the Prize to Grazia Deledda, for her idealistically inspired writings which with plastic clarity picture the life on her native island and with depth and sympathy deal with human problems in general.

At the banquet, Archbishop Nathan Soderblom, Member of the Swedish Academy, addressed the laureate: Dear Madame – The proverb says, All roads lead to Rome In your literary work, all roads lead to the human heart. You never tire of listening affectionately to its legends, its mysteries, conflicts, anxieties, and eternal longings. Customs as well as civil and social institutions vary according to the times, the national character and history, faith and tradition, and should be respected religiously. To do otherwise and reduce everything to a uniformity would be a crime against art and truth. But the human heart and its problems are everywhere the same. The author who knows how to describe human nature and its vicissitudes in the most vivid colours and, more important, who knows how to investigate and unveil the world of the heart – such an author is universal, even in his local confinement.

You, Madame, do not limit yourself to man; you reveal, first of all, the struggle between man’s bestiality and the high destiny of his soul. For you the road is extended. You have seen the road sign which many travellers pass by without noticing. For you the road leads to God. For this reason you believe in rebirth in spite of the degradation and frailty of man. You know that it is possible to reclaim the swamp so that it becomes firm and fertile land. Therefore, a bright ray gleams in your books. Through darkness and human misery you let shine the solace of eternal light.

Book(s):

Canne al vento

Photo Gallery:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *