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Minna Zallman Proctor is the author of Landslide: True Stories (2017) and the editor of The Literary Review. Minna Zallman. Her essays and reviews have appeared in such publications as Aperture, Bookforum, The LA Times Book Review, Guilt & Pleasure, The Nation, American Scholar, and The New York Times Book Review. Proctor’s translation of Love in Vain, Selected Stories of Federigo Tozzi won the PEN Poggioli Prize. Her other translations include Fleur Jaeggy’s These Possible Lives, Bruno Arpaia’s The Angel of History, work by Dino Campana, fiction by Simona Vinci, essays by Umberto Eco, Pierpaolo Pasolini, and a biography of Fellini.
Ismail Muhammad is a writer and critic based in Oakland, California. He's the reviews editor for The Believer, a staff writer at the Millions, a contributing editor at ZYZZYVA, a board member at the National Books Critics Circle, and a Ph.D. candidate in the English department at U.C. Berkeley. He's been the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Emerging Critics Fellowship, a Simpson Family Literary Fellow, and a participant in the VONA 2017 workshops. His work, which focuses on literature, art, identity, and black popular and visual culture, has appeared in publications like Slate, New Republic, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Real Life, and Catapult.
Natalia Ginzburg (1916–1991) was born Natalia Levi in Palermo, Sicily, the daughter of a Jewish father and a Catholic mother. She grew up in Turin, in a household that was a salon for antifascist activists, intellectuals, and artists, and published her first short stories at the age of eighteen; she would go on to become one of the most important and widely taught writers in Italy, taking up the themes of oppression, family, and social change. In 1938, she married Leone Ginzburg, a prominent Turinese writer, activist, and editor. In 1940, the fascist government exiled the Ginzburgs and their three children to a remote village in Abruzzo. After the fall of Mussolini, Leone fled to Rome, where he was arrested by Nazi authorities and tortured to death. Natalia married Gabriele Baldini, an English professor, in 1950, and spent the next three decades in Rome, London, and Turin, writing dozens of novels, plays, and essays. Lessico famigliare (Family Lexicon) won her the prestigious Strega Prize in 1963 and La famiglia Manzoni was awarded the 1984 Bagutta Prize. From 1983 to 1987, she served in the Italian parliament as an Independent (having left the Communist Party), where she dedicated herself to reformist causes, including food prices and Palestinian rights.
June 20, 2019 | 7:30pm

Translating Natalia Ginzburg: Minna Zallman Proctor in conversation with Ismail Muhammad

The Laundry SF | 3359 26th Street | San Francisco, CA

This event has already taken place.

Minna Zallman Proctor, author of Landslide and editor of The Literary Review, discusses her translation of Natalia Ginzburg’s Happiness, as Such with writer and critic Ismail Muhammad.

At the heart of Happiness, as Such is an absence—an abyss that draws everyone nearer to its edge—created by the departure of a family’s wayward only son, Michele, who has fled from Italy to England to escape the dangers and threats of his radical political ties. This novel is part epistolary: his mother writes letters to him, nagging him; his sister Angelica writes to him too; so does Mara, his former lover, who gave birth to a child who could be his own. Left to clean up Michele’s mess, his family and friends complain and commiserate, making mistakes and missteps, attempting to cope in the only ways that they know how. With a few brushstrokes, Natalia Ginzburg can flesh out an entire existence and all its pitfalls and disappointments with unmatched clarity. One of Natalia Ginzburg’s finest achievements, Happiness, as Such is an experimental, wise, raw, comic novel, written in powerful prose that cuts to the bone with surgical precision.

 

Co-presented by the Jewish Community Library.

Contact:
Leslie-Ann Woofter
415.512.8812
Minna Zallman Proctor is the author of Landslide: True Stories (2017) and the editor of The Literary Review. Minna Zallman. Her essays and reviews have appeared in such publications as Aperture, Bookforum, The LA Times Book Review, Guilt & Pleasure, The Nation, American Scholar, and The New York Times Book Review. Proctor’s translation of Love in Vain, Selected Stories of Federigo Tozzi won the PEN Poggioli Prize. Her other translations include Fleur Jaeggy’s These Possible Lives, Bruno Arpaia’s The Angel of History, work by Dino Campana, fiction by Simona Vinci, essays by Umberto Eco, Pierpaolo Pasolini, and a biography of Fellini.
Ismail Muhammad is a writer and critic based in Oakland, California. He's the reviews editor for The Believer, a staff writer at the Millions, a contributing editor at ZYZZYVA, a board member at the National Books Critics Circle, and a Ph.D. candidate in the English department at U.C. Berkeley. He's been the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Emerging Critics Fellowship, a Simpson Family Literary Fellow, and a participant in the VONA 2017 workshops. His work, which focuses on literature, art, identity, and black popular and visual culture, has appeared in publications like Slate, New Republic, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Real Life, and Catapult.
Natalia Ginzburg (1916–1991) was born Natalia Levi in Palermo, Sicily, the daughter of a Jewish father and a Catholic mother. She grew up in Turin, in a household that was a salon for antifascist activists, intellectuals, and artists, and published her first short stories at the age of eighteen; she would go on to become one of the most important and widely taught writers in Italy, taking up the themes of oppression, family, and social change. In 1938, she married Leone Ginzburg, a prominent Turinese writer, activist, and editor. In 1940, the fascist government exiled the Ginzburgs and their three children to a remote village in Abruzzo. After the fall of Mussolini, Leone fled to Rome, where he was arrested by Nazi authorities and tortured to death. Natalia married Gabriele Baldini, an English professor, in 1950, and spent the next three decades in Rome, London, and Turin, writing dozens of novels, plays, and essays. Lessico famigliare (Family Lexicon) won her the prestigious Strega Prize in 1963 and La famiglia Manzoni was awarded the 1984 Bagutta Prize. From 1983 to 1987, she served in the Italian parliament as an Independent (having left the Communist Party), where she dedicated herself to reformist causes, including food prices and Palestinian rights.