Elias Portolu

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Northwestern University Press, 1995 - Fiction - 194 pages
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Winner of the 1926 Novel Prize for Literature

After serving time in mainland Italy for a minor theft, Elias Portolu returns home to Nuoro, in rural Sardinia. Lonely and vulnerable after his prison exile, he falls in love with his brother's fianc e. But he finds himself trapped by social and religious strictures, his passion and guilt winding into a spiral of anguish and paralyzing indecision. For guidance he turns first to the village priest, who advises him to resist temptation; then he turns to the pagan "father of the woods," who recognizes the weakness of human will and urges him to declare his love before it is too late.

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About the author (1995)

Grazia Deledda (1871- 1936) was born in Nuoro, Sardinia, which forms the setting for most of her fiction.  In 1900 she moved to Rome with her husband, where she was commissioned to codify the folklore on her native island.  Her subsequent work is informed and inspired by this research and by a keen understanding of the conflicts produced by the convergence of Christianity, strict social mores, and pagan superstition in rural Sardinia.  In 1926 she became the second woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, awarded in recognition of the enduring power of her work and its consistent impact on a global audience.  Remarkably, her work is little known to English- speaking audiences.  Northwestern University Press also publishes After the Divorce, another of her novels.  

Martha King teaches Italian literature at Gonzaga University in Florence, Italy.  She has also translated works by Pratolini, Maraini, Banti, Leopardi, and Arcangeli.

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