Deledda, the Nobel Prize winner of 1926, a century ago identified a psychosociological pathology: the arrested maturation of her male characters. Throughout her prose, truncated maturity functions as a psychological undertow, sucking down its suffers and the women who love them into the depths of fictive drama. Concomittantly she dissects male-female relationships within the framing leitmotiv of prolonged male adolescence, undergirded by a woman’s boundless tolerance for male narcissitic despair. Deledda’s literary strategy subverts conventional expectations in surprising ways, as she exposes the inner workings of a patronistic wolrd where her women can finally wield a fragment of power.
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