From the European South

a transdisciplinary journal of postcolonial humanities

L’altra Italia: per una lettura subalterna del Meridione di Grazia Deledda

Maria Valeria Dominioni


The Other Italy. For a subaltern reading of Grazia Deledda’s South. Postcolonial interpretations of Gramsci’s thought may be fruitfully employed to analyse the history of the Italian South, in both its meanings: the South of Italy and Italy as European South. Subaltern Studies are also useful in order to understand the particular semi-peripheral position of Italy and to recognize the same duplicity in the condition of Southern Italy. It is believed that the Subaltern Studies critical approach, focusing on textuality and its identity role, provides valuable keys for interpreting the Italian case. Italian literature contributed to the construction of national identity, during and after the Risorgimento, by means of ‘orientalist’ representations of the South. Even southern authors, influenced by folklorists and criminologists, described the South as a primitive and exotic land. This article investigates works written by Grazia Deledda (Nuoro 1871 - Roma 1936), that, at first, mirror the centralistic project, but later reveal her attempt to emancipate her narrative firstly from colonial subjection and secondly from the patriarchal one. For this purpose, it is necessary to read her work diachronically and to decipher the gradual transfiguration into symbols of her polemic against power. Canne al vento, presenting the recomposition of a Sardinian matriarchal community after the invasion of a stranger, seems to speak of a redemption from ‘double colonization’, yet warning against the violent and sacrificial nature of any emancipation.


questione meridionale, subalternità, orientalismo, doppia colonizzazione, Grazia Deledda



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