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Natalia Ginzburg

  • Every day silence harvests its victims. Silence is a mortal illness.

  • My vocation is to write and I have known this for a long time. I hope I won't be misunderstood; I know nothing about the value of the things I am able to write. I know that writing is my vocation. When I sit down to write I feel extraordinarily at ease, and I move in an element which, it seems to me, I know extraordinarily well; I use tools that are familiar to me and they fit snugly in my hands. But when I write stories I am like someone who is in her own country, walking along streets that she has known since she was a child, between walls and trees that are hers.

  • Today, as never before, the fates of men are so intimately linked to one another that a disaster for one is a disaster for everybody.

  • We become adolescents when the words that adults exchange with one another become intelligible to us ...

  • As far as the education of children is concerned I think they should be taught not the little virtues but the great ones. Not thrift but generosity and an indifference to money; not caution but courage and a contempt for danger; not shrewdness but frankness and a love of truth; not tact but love for one's neighbor and self-denial; not a desire for success but a desire to be and to know.

  • Being moderate with oneself and generous with others; this is what is meant by having a just relationship with money, by being free as far as money is concerned.

  • The true defense against wealth is not a fear of wealth — of its fragility and of the vicious consequences that it can bring — the true defense against wealth is an indifference to money.

  • But that was the best time of my life, and only now that it has gone from me forever — only now do I realize it.

  • Our dreams are never realized and as soon as we see them betrayed we realize that the intensest joys of our life have nothing to do with reality. No sooner do we see them betrayed than we are consumed with regret for the time when they glowed within us. And in this succession of hopes and regrets our life slips by.

  • ... I begin to suspect that England is the most melancholy country in the world.

  • The English have no imagination: and yet they do show imagination in two things — two only. In the evening-clothes worn by old ladies, and in their cafés.

  • But the English do not know what surprise is. No one ever turns his head to look at anyone else in the street.

  • Italy is a country which is willing to submit itself to the worst governments. It is, as we know, a country ruled by disorder, cynicism, incompetence and confusion. Nevertheless we are aware of intelligence circulating in the streets like a vivid bloodstream.

  • England is a country where people stay exactly as they are. The soul does not receive the slightest jolt.

  • And we are a people without tears. The things that moved our parents do not move us at all.

  • My tidiness, and my untidiness, are full of regret and remorse and complex feelings.

    • Natalia Ginzburg,
    • "He and I," in Raleigh Trevelyan, ed., Italian Writing Today ()
  • Over my real sorrows I never weep.

    • Natalia Ginzburg,
    • "He and I," in Raleigh Trevelyan, ed., Italian Writing Today ()
  • No adultery is bloodless.

  • If you are not afraid of the voices inside you, you will not fear the critics outside you.

    • Natalia Ginzburg
  • I think of a writer as a river: you reflect what passes before you.

    • Natalia Ginzburg

Natalia Ginzburg, Italian writer

(1916 - 1991)

Full name: Natalia Levi Ginzburg. She used the pseudonym Alessandra Tornimparte for her first book.