Category Italian

Turin’s Skies, Women’s Bodies, and Foreign Lands: Marina Jarre’s “Distant Fathers,” Translated from Italian by Ann Goldstein

The centrality of women’s experiences in current Italian fiction has drawn attention to previously neglected works. Although Jarre’s frankness about the body, from childhood to older age, is not shocking after Ferrante, it marked a new contribution to Italian literature in her time.

Natalia Ginzburg

“The Shattered House”: Lynne Sharon Schwartz on Natalia Ginzburg

nstead of by century or by literary movement, writers of fiction might be classified by times of day or slants of light. Tolstoy would fall under the clarity of high noon, Dostoievski  the hysteria of three a.m. Natalia Ginzburg’s pervasive wit and minute details would suggest a morning sensibility, while her repetitions and obsessiveness feel nocturnal. In the end, though, she is crepuscular, like Chekhov.

Natalia Ginzburg

A Short History of “Reintroducing Natalia Ginzburg”

We are stuck in a loop of “reintroducing Natalia Ginzburg.” The current iteration of that loop depends on publishers’ marketing of Ginzburg as a precursor to Elena Ferrante. However, this genealogy arises out of a necessity to sell books; Ginzburg’s relation to her peers—Cesar Pavese, Elsa Morante, Italo Calvino—has far more relevance than the specter of her impact on Ferrante.

Global Perspectives, Trauma, and the Global Novel: Ferrante’s Poetics Between Storytelling, Uncanny Realism and Dissolving Margins

Excerpt from: de Rogatis, Tiziana. “Global Perspectives, Trauma, and the Global Novel: Ferrante’s Poetics between Storytelling, Uncanny Realism, and Dissolving Margins.” MLN 136:1 (2021), 6-9. © 2021 Johns Hopkins University Press.  Reprinted with permission of Johns Hopkins University Press. Read the Introduction to “Elena Ferrante in a Global Context,” the special issue of Modern Language […]

Elena Ferrante in a Global Context

This special issue was born out of the interweaving of our personal and professional stories, at the intersection of our different mother tongues and acquired languages, homelands, and disciplinary backgrounds. An Italian-Neapolitan scholar in Italy, a Bulgarian scholar in the United States, and a German scholar in the United Kingdom, we found a common ground through the study of Elena Ferrante and on the pages of a 2016 volume of the Italian scholarly journal Allegoria.

Selfhood and Narration: Goliarda Sapienza’s “Meeting In Positano,” Translated from Italian by Brian Robert Moore

By Maria Morelli Written in 1984, Meeting in Positano marks the last volume of Goliarda Sapienza’s Autobiography of Contradictions (as she herself labelled her unorthodox autobiographical project) which began in 1967 with Lettera Aperta (Open Letter) and which her premature demise brought to an abrupt end. Departing from the narratological approach that had marked the […]

Loyalty in Language: Marco Balzano’s “I’m Staying Here,” Translated from Italian by Jill Foulston

By Maria Massucco The opening chapters of Marco Balzano’s I’m Staying Here find the narrator Trina’s memory coming into focus around a time of historic upheaval: Until that time [spring of ’23], life had kept pace with the rhythm of the seasons, especially in these border valleys. Like an echo that fades away, history seemed […]

Reading Elena Ferrante in Bulgaria(n)

By Stiliana Milkova Last year I read Elena Ferrante’s new novel The Lying Life of Adults (La vita bugiarda degli adulti) in Bulgarian, in Ivo Yonkov’s translation from Italian. It was September 2020, it had just been released by Ferrante’s Bulgarian publisher, Colibri, and I was in Bulgaria myself. I went to Helikon, the largest […]

Images of Imagination: Saskia Ziolkowski Reviews Antonio Tabucchi’s “Stories with Pictures” and Interviews Translator Elizabeth Harris

Stories with Pictures draws attention to the communal nature of artistic endeavors, made even more collaborative with the additional presence of the translator.

Mapping Absence: Andrea Bajani’s “If You Kept a Record of Sins,” translated from Italian by Elizabeth Harris

By Brian Robert Moore On the first page of Esther Kinsky’s Grove, a book translated by Caroline Schmidt which explores bereavement against the backdrop of a trip through Italy, the narrator details a Romanian mourning ritual: “In Romanian churches believers light candles in two separate places. It might be two niches in the wall, two […]

Answering the Call: Jamie Richards interviews Anne Milano Appel

Anne Milano Appel is the award-winning translator of over three dozen books and 2021 marks her twenty-fifth year translating Italian literature. Her translations include works by Antonio Scurati, Paolo Maurensig, Claudio Magris, Primo Levi, Luce D’Eramo, Goliarda Sapienza, Paolo Giordano, Andrea Canobbio, Roberto Saviano, and numerous others in periodicals such as Chicago Review, Asymptote, Guernica, […]

“La Signora Bovary” — Translator’s Note by Natalia Ginzburg

By Natalia Ginzburg Translated by Minna Zallman Proctor There are people who think that writers make the best translators. I don’t agree. Sometimes writers produce excellent translations, but not always. Translating a beloved text can be a nourishing, invigorating, and vital practice for a writer. As long as the writer thinks of it as a […]

Dear Natalia: How I translated “Caro Michele”

By Minna Zallman Proctor In 1963, Natalia Ginzburg’s seminal, miraculous, autobiographical novel, Lessico famigliare (Family Lexicon), came out in Italy and was an instant hit—selling over 86,000 copies that first year and going into five reprints. Then ten years passed before Caro Michele (Happiness, As Such). The decade-long gap between novels is not the result […]

On Humor, Eccentricity, and Sound in “Family Lexicon”: A Conversation with Ginzburg Translator Jenny McPhee

Jenny McPhee is an accomplished translator of Italian literature––she has translated works by Anna Banti, Anna Maria Ortese, Fausta Cialente, Natalia Ginzburg, Curzio Malaparte, and Primo Levi, among others. She received a Guggenheim fellowship in 2020. In this interview, which is part of the special issue “Reading Natalia Ginzburg,” we focus on her translation of Ginzburg’s 1963 novel Family Lexicon (Lessico […]

Translating Natalia Ginzburg’s “Voice That Says ‘I’” in the Twenty-First Century

By Eric Gudas For decades, no matter how many of my books sit boxed up in storage, I’ve always had a tattered photocopy of the chapter entitled “The End of the Affair,” from Natalia Ginzburg’s novel Voices in the Evening (1961) in the translation by D.M. Low first published in 1963 by Hogarth Press. This […]