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I messaggi non arrivano all’alba

The life of Mario Ciusa Romagna, born in Nuoro in 1909, is deeply bound to the historical events of the last century. From the pastoral life of the province at the start of the century, to Fascist Italy and later the region’s integration into the industrialised republic, when aesthetics and literature became the privileged mirror of social and economic change in Italy.

The Nuoro of his adolescence, the Florence of the thirties and postwar Sardinia form the crux of the book, along with his experience at the magazine “Ichnusa” and the founding of the Deledda Prize (1952).

The biographical narrative is full of events, with a particular focus on the chapter relating to the years in Florence, when the writer took part in lively debates about the new languages of European culture in the historic Caffè delle Giubbe Rosse, along with his friends Oreste Macrì, Piero Bigongiari and Mario Luzi.

Documentary sources, including several previously unpublished letters and texts, paint a picture of a sophisticated intellectual who, throughout his long life, never ceased questioning the meaning of a constantly-changing reality.


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Maria Elvira Ciusa was born in Nuoro; she is an essayist, art historian and publicist, the great niece of the sculptor Francesco Ciusa and the daughter of the writer Mario Ciusa Romagna. A graduate in Modern Literature from the University of Cagliari with a specialisation in Art History, her teachers included Roberto Longhi in Florence and Corrado Maltese in Cagliari. As an assistant lecturer at the Cagliari Literature Faculty, she led courses on Italian Literature and Art History. She was a publicist for more than ten years for the cultural page of “L’Unione Sarda”. In 2000 at the University of Arezzo, she taught the work of Giuseppe Biasi and the influence of the Vienna and Munich Secessionists on early twentieth-century art in Sardinia. In 2002 she took part in a seminar at the University of Philadelphia on Grazia Deledda, with a lecture on the relation between the Nuoro-born writer’s work and the world of the artists who were her contemporaries. In Nuoro she has presented papers at five international conferences on Deledda (1986-7 and 2016, 17 and 18), including L’isola tra scrittura e immagine: il mondo di Grazia Deledda nelle illustrazioni degli artisti sardi suoi contemporanei and Grazia e Nicolina: storia di un sodalizio. Her publications include L’isola nelle correnti – pittura e grafica di G. Biasi nell’arte italiana ed europea del ‘900 (Scheiwiller, 1985) and L’opera xilografica di Mario Delitala fra identità e tradizione (Scheiwiller, 1987), which are still considered landmarks in contemporary Sardinian non-fiction. Her studies of Giuseppe Biasi, Mario Delitala, Francesco Ciusa, Nicolina Deledda and Maria Lai are essential reading. Her latest works include the first annotated biography of Grazia Deledda, Una vita per il Nobel (Delfino, 2016), Deledda-Biasi, il visibile narrare (Delfino, 2017) and Maria Lai, il filo dell’esistere (Delfino, 2017). Today Maria Elvira Ciusa is considered one of the leading experts on the work of the Nuora writer.