Natalia Ginzburg

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Natalia Ginzburg with Alessandro Pertini

Natalia Ginzburg (born July 14, 1916 in Palermo ; died October 7, 1991 in Rome ) was one of the most important writers in Italian literature of the 20th century.

life and work

Born in 1916 as Natalia Levi, the writer came from a Jewish family in Trieste . Her father, the recognized doctor and professor Giuseppe Levi , and her three brothers were charged with their anti-fascist resistance and were temporarily imprisoned.

She spent her childhood and adolescence in Turin , soon finding solace in short story writing. In 1933 her first story I bambini appeared in the magazine Solaria . In 1938 she married Leone Ginzburg , a lecturer in Russian literature. In the same years she came into contact with the most important representatives of the Turin resistance, above all with the intellectuals of the Einaudi publishing house ( Cesare Pavese et al.), For which her husband had worked since 1933. The historian Carlo Ginzburg comes from the marriage of Natalia and Leone Ginzburg .

In 1940 she followed her husband into exile in a village in Abruzzo , where they had to stay until 1943 for reasons of political and racial persecution. Under the pseudonym Alessandra Tornimparte she wrote and published her first novel La strada che va in città in 1942 , which came out in 1945 under her author's name.

After Leone Ginzburg was murdered by German soldiers in the Regina Coeli prison in Rome , she returned to Turin in February 1944 and began working for Einaudi-Verlag after the war ended in 1945. In 1947 her second novel È stato così was published , which won the “Tempo” literary prize. In 1950 she married Gabriele Baldini , a lecturer in English literature and director of the Italian Cultural Institute in London.

The most productive phase of her literary work began with the novel Tutti i nostri ieri in 1952, which mainly dealt with human memory and psychological observation. In 1957 she published Valentino , a collection of long short stories that won the Premio Viareggio , and the novel Sagittario . In 1959 she moved to London, where she lived with her husband for two years. In 1961 Le voci della sera appeared ; and in 1964 all novels that had been written up to then came out in the anthology Cinque romanzi brevi . A collection of essays, Le piccole virtù , was published in 1962; and with Lessico famigliare she won the Premio Strega in 1963, with broad approval from both critics and the public .

After the death of her second husband in 1969, Ginzburg devoted himself more to writing: In the 1970s, the volumes of short stories Mai devi domandarmi (1970) and Vita immaginaria (1974) were published. The writer, who had also proven to be a sensitive translator of Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu and Du côté de chez Swann , now deepened the motif of the family microcosm in the novel Caro Michele (1973), the story Famiglia (1977), the Epistle novel La città e la casa (1984) and - from an essayistic perspective - in La famiglia Manzoni (1983). In addition, she also wrote dramas: Ti ho sposato per allegria (1966), L'inserzione (1968) and Paese di mare (1972). Her texts deal with the subject of loneliness and the inability of people to communicate with one another.

In 1983 and 1987 she was elected as an independent candidate on the list of the Communist Party of Italy (PCI) in the Italian Parliament , where she joined the Sinistra Indipendente faction . In 1991 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences .

Natalia Ginzburg died in Rome in 1991 at the age of 75 and found her final resting place on Campo Verano .

Works (selection)

  • La strada che va in città (1942; The street into the city 1997)
  • È stato così (1947; that's how it was 1992)
  • Tutti i nostri ieri (1952; All our yesterday 1969)
  • Valentino (novel, 1957; German 1960)
  • Sagittario (1957; Sagittarius 1994)
  • Le voci della sera (novel, 1961; The voices of the evening 1964)
  • Le piccole virtù (1962; The little virtues 2016)
  • Lessico famigliare (autobiographical work, 1963; Mein Familien-Lexikon 1965)
  • L'inserzione (drama, 1968)
  • Mai devi domandarmi (essays, 1970; you should never ask me 1991)
  • Caro Michele (novel, 1973; German 1974)
  • Vita immaginaria (1974; The imaginary life 1995)
  • La famiglia Manzoni (1983; The Manzoni family 1988)
  • La città e la casa (1984; The city and the house 1986)


Web links

Commons : Natalia Ginzburg  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. L'Inghilterra ha riscoperto Natalia Ginzburg. Retrieved May 19, 2020 (Italian).