Category Special Issue on Natalia Ginzburg

“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 […]

The Light of Turin: Natalia Ginzburg’s Cityscape

By Roberto Carretta Translated by Stiliana Milkova Via Morgari is located in Turin’s San Salvario neighborhood—a little Le Marais where the encounter and superimposition of new identities is the norm. San Salvario stretches from the nineteenth-century buildings, now apartment blocks flanking the Porta Nuova railway station, to the edge of the suburbs on the east. […]

Italo Calvino, “Natalia Ginzburg or the Possibilities of the Bourgeois Novel”

By Italo Calvino Translated from Italian by Stiilana Milkova and Eric Gudas Translators’ Introduction Natalia Ginzburg and Italo Calvino met in Turin in 1946, at the publishing house Einaudi where she was working as an editor and he would soon join the editorial staff. They became close friends and admired each other’s writing. In 1961, […]

Queering Family Roles and Gender Norms in Natalia Ginzburg’s “Valentino”

By Enrica Maria Ferrara Traditionally, Natalia Ginzburg was seen as a writer who did not take sides with the feminist movement, refused to endorse the cause of women as victims and men as perpetrators, thus conveying a “disinterested view of sexual politics that has inevitably alienated both male chauvinists and militant feminists” (Bullock 1-2). While […]

Natalia Ginzburg’s Speech Acts: The Female Voice as a Form of Resistance

By Serena Todesco “And so memories of our own past constantly crop up in the things we write, our own voice constantly echoes there and we are unable to silence it” Natalia Ginzburg, “My Vocation,” The Little Virtues Whenever I listen to Natalia Ginzburg’s voice, it seems that the fleshly dimension of her words is […]

Forging the Female Voice out of the Ruins of History: Reading Natalia Ginzburg

By Katrin Wehling-Giorgi In recent years, partly abetted by the phenomenal global and transmedial success of Elena Ferrante’s works, Natalia Ginzburg’s novels and short stories have undergone a major revival and rediscovery, leading to a number of (re-)translations and increasing attention by a new transnational readership.[1] As a translator herself (of Proust, Vercors, Flaubert, among […]

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 […]