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Church of Solitude, The

Grazia Deledda, E. Ann Matter

Publication Year: 2002

The Church of Solitude tells the story of Maria Concezione, a young Sardinian seamstress living with breast cancer at the cusp of the twentieth century. Overwhelmed by the shame of her diagnosis, she decides that no one can know what has happened to her, but the heavy burden of this secrecy changes her life in dramatic ways and almost causes the destruction of several people in her life. This surprising novel paints the portrait of a woman facing the unknown with courage, faith, and self-reliance, and is the last and most autobiographical work of Grazia Deledda, who died of breast cancer in 1936, shortly after its publication. An afterword by the translator offers additional information on the author and examines the social and historical environment of that time.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series, Women Writers in Translation

Front Matter

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Pages 1 - 30

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pp. 1-30

Maria Concezione left the small hospital of her town on the seventh of December, the vigil of her saint’s day. She had undergone a serious operation: her left breast had been completely cut away. Upon discharging her, the head physician had said with Olympian and crystalline cruelty, “You are fortunate you are no longer very young—twenty-eight, I believe—...

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Pages 31 - 60

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pp. 31-60

content. It was enough to love, and the blood ran hot in his veins, and youth bloomed all around him in the cold little church, with all the roses of hope and of good intentions. But all of a sudden the door was opened brusquely, and almost pushing each other, two young men came in. They made great signs of the cross with holy water, but turning ...

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Pages 61 - 90

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pp. 61-90

garden. And the mountains cast off, once and for all, their winter pelts. A small man of an indefinable age and station, still slim in his black overcoat cut in the old way, but smart and clean, with a shiny bowler hat on his small and restless head like that of a bird, with gloves, a cane, and patent leather shoes, entered the little church. He bowed without kneeling towards the Holy ...

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Pages 91 - 120

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pp. 91-120

even more foolish. And so it’s almost certain to turn out that in the end they’ll go away together. ”Cold and hostile, yet with a vague relief, she said, “Good luck. Have a good trip. ”And each time the memory, or as she put it, the temptation, of the young stranger came back to her mind, sometimes in an almost tangible way, swollen with anguish and jealousy, she tried to squash it like you squash a troublesome insect. But ...

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Pages 121 - 151

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pp. 121-152

some way that would become known, and perhaps also with money, had gone off on his own business. The “doctor” exasperated Concezione. Sometimes he even managed to mesmerize and frighten her, weaving his own special version of the mysterious happenings. “It probably happened like this: that simpleton was practically ...

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Translator’s Afterword

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pp. 153-180

In 1900, when Grazia Deledda, twenty-nine years old and newly married, left Sardinia for Rome, she already had sixteen books in print. By the time of her death thirty-six years later, she was the author of over sixty volumes, including novels, collections of stories and folklore of Sardinia, poetry, and essays. Two things about this life of literature are truly remarkable: the fact ...


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pp. 174-176

E-ISBN-13: 9780791488188
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791454572
Print-ISBN-10: 0791454576

Page Count: 176
Publication Year: 2002

Series Title: SUNY series, Women Writers in Translation