Category Italian

On Female Genius: A Conversation with Italian Writer and Ginzburg Biographer Sandra Petrignani

Translators’ Introduction Sandra Petrignani is an acclaimed Italian writer and journalist, the author of many novels, collections of short stories, and volumes of non-fiction, including a biography of Marguerite Duras and a biography of Natalia Ginzburg, La corsara. Ritratto di Natalia Ginzburg (Neri Pozza, 2018). In her biography of Natalia Ginzburg, Sandra Petrignani draws on her […]

“History’s Inexorable Demands”: An Excerpt from Sandra Petrignani’s “La corsara”

As part of our special issue “Reading Natalia Ginzburg,” we are featuring an excerpt from the English translation of Sandra Petrignani’s biography of Natalia Ginzburg, La corsara. Ritratto di Natalia Ginzburg (Neri Pozza 2019). The passages excerpted here are from chapter six, “History’s Inexorable Demands,” and are published with Sandra Petrignani’s permission and courtesy of […]

Putting a Brave Face on Loneliness and Loss: Natalia Ginzburg’s “Family” and “Borghesia”

By Jeanne Bonner I do not think of Natalia Ginzburg as a sad figure or a writer of sad, tragic works. I’ve seen her in old interviews, and I’ve read her nonfiction work. Archival photos often show her smiling. She was not melodramatic. She did not seek pity or any kind of rapt attention beyond […]

Walking With Natalia: On Reading “Winter in the Abruzzi”

By Chloe Garcia Roberts Natalia Ginzburg’s “Winter in the Abruzzi” is a short essay about a period in the author’s life that she spent with her family in political exile from Rome. I first read it in the early spring of 2020, as I was fitfully flitting from one book to another looking for any […]

A World Filled with Echoes: On Natalia Ginzburg’s “The Little Virtues”

By Andrew Martino There are books that become a part of us in profound and magical ways. Books that become companions, whether in childhood or in adulthood, and that leave a trace of its magic on our souls. For those of us who read voraciously, most books are forgotten, or at best, leave only a […]

“Preface” to Natalia Ginzburg’s “A Place to Live,” by Lynne Sharon Schwartz

By Lynne Schwartz Natalia Ginzburg’s essays require no explication. The opposite of hermetic, they are startlingly direct, forthright, and thorough. They leave readers stunned with recognition, fixed on the inexorable paths the sentences have cleared. The limpid ease of the language seems at odds with the author’s pungent accounts of the labor and struggle the […]

Translators and Their Ghosts: Iginio Ugo Tarchetti’s “Fantastic Tales,” Translated from Italian by Lawrence Venuti

Iginio Ugo Tarchetti’s Fantastic Tales (Archipelago Books, 2020) is a reprint of the 1992 original Mercury House edition translated from Italian by Lawrence Venuti, one of the most influential scholars of translation today.

Translating Silence: Giuseppe Ungaretti’s “Allegria,” translated from Italian by Geoffrey Brock

By Elena Borelli When translating Giuseppe Ungaretti’s first volume of poetry, originally published in 1919 and subsequently reissued in various editions, Geoffrey Brock has chosen to leave the title in the original Italian. The  translation of the word allegria as “merriment” or “mirth” would be misleading for the reader, especially because in the very first […]

Translation is a Performance of Language: An Interview with Translator and Poet Will Schutt

I’m not sure there’s an Italian word for microaggression. If there is, it is probably lifted from americano.

Unlived Lives in Natalia Ginzburg’s “Valentino” and “Sagittarius,” Translated from Italian by Avril Bardoni

By Eric Gudas One refers, as a commonplace, to “the unlived life”; but fiction excels at dramatizing people’s myriad unlived lives. Natalia Ginzburg’s fiction links stifled hopes and ambitions with suppressed speech. The narrators of Ginzburg’s Valentino and Sagittarius: Two Novellas (1957), which New York Review Books Classics has just reissued in Avril Bardoni’s decades-old […]

The Gospel According to Elena Ferrante

As she probes the association of God with forces of repression and domination, Giovanna condemns the patriarchal nature of her relationship with Andrea.

Alone With Language

By David Kurnick You could tell it like a fairy tale: a malevolent father who curses his daughter with ugliness; a comely prince who, some difficult years later, lifts the curse by praising the girl’s beauty. An enchanted bracelet, invested with mysterious power by the father’s hated and feared sister, who practices the “terrible arts” […]

Under His Watchful Eye: Family and Power in “The Lying Life of Adults”

The Lying Life of Adults is about the often-subtle ways men wield their power over women.

Elusions and Disillusions

Reading Elena Ferrante’s latest novel from this place of incertitude is consequently a puzzling, if not uncanny experience.

The Truth that Lies Behind the Lies

Elena Ferrante’s new novel, The Lying Life of Adults, is intense and bitter.