Natalia Ginzburg

Natalia Ginzburg (née Levi; 14 July 1916 – 7 October 1991) was an Italian writer.

She was educated at home, and later attended the liceo Alfieri in Turin. In 1933, Ginzburg published her first short story, in the periodical Solaria. In 1938, she married Leone Ginzburg, a Jewish lecturer for Russian literature, who had founded the publisher Einaudi in 1933, together with Giulio Einaudi. Natalia and Leone had three children (one of them is the historian Carlo Ginzburg).

In 1940, Leone was sent into internal exile, in the Abruzzi region, and Natalia followed him with their two children. Together, they clandestinely edited an anti-Fascist newspaper, L’Italia Libera. Leone was arrested in 1943, and died in jail in 1944, as a result of severe torture, at the hands of the German police.

Throughout the 1940’s, Natalia worked for the publisher Einaudi in Turin. In 1950, Ginzburg married again, to the scholar Gabriele Baldini, and moved to Rome. During the 1970’s, she was a regular contributor to the Corriere della Sera. For a time, Ginzburg belonged to the Italian Communist Party, and, in 1983, she was elected to the Italian Parliament as an independent.


  • 1963 Strega Prize for Lessico famigliare


In English

  • The Road to the City, tr. Frances Frenaye (1949. Original: La strada che va in città, 1942)
  • The Dry Heart, tr. Frances Frenaye (1949. Original: È stato così, 1947)
  • A Light for Fools / All our yesterdays, tr. Angus Davidson (1985. Original: Tutti i nostri ieri, 1952)
  • Valentino, tr. Avril Bardoni (1987. Original: Valentino, 1957)
  • Sagittarius, tr. Avril Bardoni (1987. Original: Sagittario, 1957)
  • Voices in the Evening, tr. D.M.Low (1963. Original: Le voci della sera, 1961)
  • The Little Virtues, tr. Dick Davis (1985. Original: Le piccole virtù, 1962)
  • Family sayings, tr. D.M.Low (1963. Original: Lessico famigliare, 1963)
    • Also: The Things We Used to Say, tr. Judith Woolf (1977); Family Lexicon, tr. Jenny McPhee (2017)
  • I Married You for Fun, tr. Henry Reed (1969. Original: Ti ho sposato per allegria, 1966)
    • Also: I Married You to Cheer Myself Up, tra. Wendell Ricketts (2008)
  • The Strawberry Ice, tr. Henry Reed (1973. Original: Fragola e panna, 1966)
    •  Also: Strawberry and Cream, tr. Wendell Ricketts (2008)
  • The Secretary, tr. Wendell Ricketts (2008. Original: La segretaria, 1967)
  • The Advertisement, tr. Henry Reed (1968. Original: L’inserzione, 1968)
  • The Wrong Door, tr. Wendell Ricketts (2008. Original: La porta sbagliata, 1968)
  • A Town by the Sea, tr. Wendell Ricketts (2008. Original: Paese di mare, 1968)
  • Never must you ask me, tr. Isabel Quigly (1970. Original: Mai devi domandarmi, 1970)
  • Duologue, tr. Henry Reed (1977. Original: Dialogo, 1970)
    • Also: Dialogue, tr. Wendell Ricketts (2008)
  • No Way, tr. Sheila Cudahy (1974. Original: Caro Michele, 1973)
    • Also: Dear Michael, tr. Sheila Cudahy (1975); Happines, as such, tr. Minna Proctor (2019)
  • The Wig, tr. Henry Reed (1976. Original: La parrucca, 1973)
    • Also: The Wig, tr. Jen Wienstein (2000); The Wig, tr. Wendell Ricketts (2008)
  • A Place to Live: And Other Selected Essays, tr. Lynne Sharon Schwartz (2002. Original: Vita immaginaria, 1974)
  • Family, tr. Beryl Stockman (1988. Original: Famiglia, 1977)
  • The Manzoni Family, tr. Marie Evans (1987. Original: La famiglia Manzoni, 1983)
  • The City and the House, tr. Dick Davis (1986. Original: La città e la casa, 1984)
  • The Interview, tr. Wendell Ricketts (2008. Original: L’intervista, 1988)
  • Serena Cruz, or The Meaning of True Justice, tr. Lynn Sharon Schwartz (2002. Original: Serena Cruz o la vera giustizia, 1990)
  • It’s Hard to Talk about Yourself, tr. Louise Quirke (2003. Original: È difficile parlare di sé, 1999)

In Italian

  • La strada che va in città (1942, first published under the name Alessandra Tornimparte)
  • È stato così (1947)
  • Tutti i nostri ieri (1952)
  • Valentino (1957)
  • Sagittario (1957)
  • Le voci della sera (1961)
  • Le piccole virtù (1962)
  • Lessico famigliare (1963)
  • Ti ho sposato per allegria (1966)
  • Fragola e panna (1966)
  • La segretaria (1967)
  • L’inserzione (1968)
  • La porta sbagliata (1968)
  • Paese di mare (1968)
  • Mai devi domandarmi (1970)
  • Dialogo (1970)
  • Caro Michele (1973)
  • La parrucca (1973)
  • Vita immaginaria (1974)
  • Famiglia (1977)
  • La famiglia Manzoni (1983)
  • La città e la casa (1984)
  • L’intervista (1988)
  • Serena Cruz o la vera giustizia (1990)
  • È difficile parlare di sé (1999)

About her

  • Natalia Ginzburg: Jewishness as Moral Identity, by Nadia Castronuovo (2010)
  • Natalia Ginzburg: A Voice of the Twentieth Century, by Angela M. Jeannet (2000)
  • Natalia Ginzburg, by Giancarlo Borri (1999)
  • Natalia Ginzburg, eine Biographie, by Maja Pflug (1995)
  • Natalia Ginzburg: Human Relationship in a Changing World, by Allan Bullock (1991)

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