Natalia <I>Levi</I> Ginzburg


Natalia Levi Ginzburg

Palermo, Città Metropolitana di Palermo, Sicilia, Italy
Death 7 Oct 1991 (aged 75)
Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy
Burial Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy
Plot Area X (Ex civili), sector 20, grave 5
Memorial ID 93257492 View Source
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Natalia was the daughter of Giuseppe Levi, a renowned Italian histologist, and Lidia Tanzi. Natalia married Leone Ginzburg on Feb. 12th, 1938, and they had three children. Leone Ginsburg died in 1944.

The children of Leone Ginzburg and Natalia Levi were:
1. Carlo Ginzburg (15 April, 1939, Torino-) (Luisa Ciammitti)
2. Andrea Ginzburg (9 April 1940, Torino--3 Mar 2018, Bologna), economist
3. Alessandra Ginzburg (1943-), psychoanalyst

After Leone Ginzburg's death, Natalia married Gabriele Baldini, in 1950. He was a scholar of English literature. They lived in Rome. Gabriele Baldini died in 1969.

The daughter of Natalia Levi and Gabriele Baldini was:
4. Susanna Baldini (1954-2002)
Their son Antonio lived only 1 year.
After her marriage to Leone Ginsburg, she used the name Natalia Ginzburg, occasionally spelled "Ginzberg," on most subsequent publications. Her first novel was published under the pseudonym Alessandra Tornimparte in 1942.

Ginzburg spent much of the 1940s working for the publisher Einaudi in Turin. They published some of the leading figures of postwar Italy, including Carlo Levi, Primo Levi, Cesare Pavese and Italo Calvino.

Her and Leone Ginsburg's experience during the war altered her perception of her identification as a Jew, and she thought deeply about the questions aroused by the war and the Holocaust, dealing with them in fiction and essays. She converted to Catholicism, arousing controversy among her circle, because she believed that Christ was a persecuted Jew.

Beginning in 1950, when Ginzburg married Gabriele Baldini and moved to Rome, she entered the most prolific period of her literary career. During the next 20 years, she published most of the works for which she is best known. They were deeply involved in the cultural life of the city.

Natalia Ginzburg, 75, Novelist, Essayist and Translator, Is Dead
"Natalia Ginzburg, an author commonly ranked with Umberto Eco as one of Italy's most important writers of fiction, died on Monday at her home in Rome. She was 75 years old.

She died of cancer, a spokesman for her publisher, Einaudi, said yesterday.

Although once dismissed as a minor writer because of her preoccupation with family life, Miss Ginzburg had seen her six works of fiction, a play ("I Married You for the Fun of It"), essays, a biography of the 19th-century novelist Alessandro Manzoni and translations of Flaubert and Proust recognized in recent years as the creations of a major artist.

Miss Ginzburg was born in Palermo, Sicily. Her mother was Catholic; her father, a professor of anatomy, Jewish. Her formative years were spent in Turin. There, she met and married Leone Ginzburg, a teacher of Russian and a leader of the anti-fascist intellectuals who in the late 1930's formed the core group of the Einaudi publishing house.

From 1940 to 1943, the Ginzburgs were confined to a small village east of Rome because of their Jewish heritage. It was during this time that Natalia Ginzburg published her first book, "The Road to the City," using the pseudonym Alessandra Torninparte in order to circumvent laws restricting the activities of Jews.

'I Got to Know Grief'
In 1943, her husband was arrested and imprisoned for anti-fascist activities. His death in prison a few months later was never explained by the authorities. "I got to know grief very well -- a real, irremediable and incurable grief that shattered my life," she recalled in an essay written in 1986, "and when I tried to put it together again I realized that my life had become irreconcilable with what had gone before. Only my vocation remained unchanged. At first I hated it, it disgusted me, but I knew very well that I would end up returning to it, and that it would save me."

After the war, Miss Ginzburg returned to Einaudi as an editor and continued to write. She won several Italian literary prizes and gained international recognition with the publication of "Voices in the Evening," a novel (1961), and an autobiography, "Family Sayings" (1963).

In "Family Sayings," she mingled her family story -- dominated by her impatient scientist father and ever-cheerful mother -- with the events of Italian history in the period between the two world wars. In a preface to the book, Miss Ginzburg wrote: "Possibly some people may not be pleased to find themselves described in the book under their own names. To such I have nothing to say."

Her biography of Manzoni, which Mary McCarthy called an "original and engrossing work," stood the old-style heroic genre on its head. While admiring Manzoni's literary achievements, her study also lays bare Manzoni's shocking indifference to his children.

Taking Sides in an Adoption
Miss Ginzburg's last book created an uproar. "Serena Cruz, or True Justice" recounts an explosive adoption case that divided Italy in 1989. In the dispute, a Filipino girl was taken from her adoptive Italian parents on grounds that the adoption was illegal. Miss Ginzburg strongly sided with the adoptive parents, arguing that their nurturing the child for 14 months should have entitled them to keep her.

In a profile of Miss Ginzburg in The New York Times Magazine in 1990, the American writer Mary Gordon recalled having asked her to account for the quality of understatement that characterizes her work.

"I was the little sister," Miss Ginzburg replied. "When you are the youngest in the family, people are always telling you to hurry up, to get to the point, say what you mean. I think that's why I write the way I do."

Asked what kind of writer she would have become had her life not been disrupted by the war, she told Ms. Gordon: "Of course I wrote about the war. I was formed by the war because that was what happened to me. I think of a writer as a river: you reflect what passes before you. The trees pass, and the houses; you reflect what is there."

"I write about families," she continued, "because that is where everything starts, where the germs grow."

Likened to Chekhov
The subtlety and economy of Miss Ginzburg's style has prompted critics to liken her to Chekhov. "When I write something I usually think it is very important and that I am a very fine writer," she wrote in an essay for The New York Times Book Review in 1986. "But there is one corner of my mind in which I know very well what I am, which is a small, a very small writer."

In 1983, Miss Ginzburg was elected to the Italian Parliament as a representative of a left-wing party unaffiliated with the Communists. She served only one term. "I did it because I like to learn about things," she told Ms. Gordon. "I like to learn about them so that I can write about them."

In 1950, she married Gabriele Baldini, a professor of English literature at the University of Rome. He died in 1969. She is survived by her four children, Alessandra, Carlo, [Andrea] and Susanna. Funeral services are to be held tomorrow."
Source: New York Times. 9 October 1991.

Literary Works of Natalia Ginzburg Baldini

1. La strada che va in città (1942)
2. È stato così (1947; The Dry Heart 1949)
3. Tutti i nostri ieri (1952; A Light for Fools 1956 and All our yesterdays)
4. Valentino (1957)
5. Sagittario (1957)
6. Le voci della sera (1961; Voices in the Evening 1963)
7. Le piccole virtù (1962);The Little Virtues 1985)
Lessico famigliare (1963; Family Sayings 1967)
8. Mai devi domandarmi (1970; Never must you ask me 1973)
Caro Michele (1973)
9. Vita immaginaria (1974)
10. La famiglia Manzoni (1983)
11. La città e la casa (1984; The City and the House 1987)

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  • Maintained by: Flynn Warmington
  • Originally Created by: Anonymous
  • Added: 8 Jul 2012
  • Find a Grave Memorial 93257492
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Natalia Levi Ginzburg (14 Jul 1916–7 Oct 1991), Find a Grave Memorial ID 93257492, citing Cimitero Comunale Monumentale Campo Verano, Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy ; Maintained by Flynn Warmington (contributor 48179193) .