How Fascism, Exile, and Tragedy Shaped Natalia Ginzburg’s Career
This Week on the History of Literature Podcast with Jacke Wilson
For tens of thousands of years, human beings have been using fictional devices to shape their worlds and communicate with one another. Four thousand years ago they began writing down these stories, and a great flourishing of human achievement began. We know it today as literature, a term broad enough to encompass everything from ancient epic poetry to contemporary novels. How did literature develop? What forms has it taken? And what can we learn from engaging with these works today? Hosted by Jacke Wilson, an amateur scholar with a lifelong passion for literature, The History of Literature takes a fresh look at some of the most compelling examples of creative genius the world has ever known.
Italian writer Natalia Ginzburg (1916-1991) lived a fascinating life full of politics, war, exile, tragedy, love, loss, and literature. In her novels, short stories, poetry, plays, and essays, she drew upon her experience and her keen capacity for observation and invention to create some of the 20th century’s most arresting and enduring works. In this episode, Jacke takes a look at the political courage shown by Ginzburg and her family—in particular her husband Leone Ginzburg, who at the tail end of World War II was tortured and killed in Rome’s famous Carcere di Regina Coeli (Queen of Heaven Prison)—and how it helped to shape Natalia Ginzburg’s life and career.