March 24, 2005 9:44 AM   Subscribe

"In every existing government we find clamor, abuses of power, newspapers with triumphant, lying headlines, lies of every kind in public life. This being the case, someone like me, who understands nothing of politics, is compelled to think about politics and despair of ever understanding it, is compelled to envision something entirely different." Natalia Ginzburg, Member of the Italian Parliament, writer, and critic.
posted by semmi (4 comments total)
member of parliment, but "understands nothing of politics". Right...
posted by delmoi at 10:30 AM on March 24, 2005

I ’ve always found it rather strange that after an election, nearly all the party newspapers proclaim victory even if they’ve been defeated.
She's right, she doesn't understand politics!
Thinking and expressing oneself politically means thinking and expressing oneself with a specific purpose in mind.
If that's her definition, then she clearly does, since her essay has a specific purpose in mind, no? So she does understand politics!
But I also think that our personal happiness or unhappiness should not determine our political choices. What works quite well for us personally may not work at all well for others.
No, no, I was wrong. She doesn't.
posted by allan at 10:58 AM on March 24, 2005

The quote to which you refer was taken from an essay written in 1972. Ginzburg was elected to the Italian parliament in 1983.

It would be interesting to know what sort of understanding of politics she was able to derive from that experience, if it confirmed or changed her ideals. (Would be interesting to know that about a good many politicians!).
posted by halcyon_daze at 11:04 AM on March 24, 2005

The late Natalia Ginzburg was also the mother of historian
Carlo Ginzburg, who was a pioneer of microhistory and author of The Cheese And The Worms and The Night Battles.

Ginzburg was elected to the Italian Parliament in 1983 as an independent left-wing deputy. Ginzburg has published memoirs, several dramas, essays, translations from such authors as Marcel Proust and Flaubert, and a biography of the poet and essayist Alessandro Manzoni, which reveals the failure of the great author as a father. - She died of cancer on October 7, 1991.

In her earliest writings Ginzburg consciously rejected any autobiographical style or elements, which she saw as characteristic of what she called 'feminine' writing. She soon discovered that it was through writing her personal experiences in a fictionalized form that she succeeded best in expressing herself. Many of her works rely on memories of her childhood and youth in Turin. Recurrent characters are frustrated intellectuals and women living static lives.

Now, that is one intellectually high powered lineage.
posted by y2karl at 3:25 PM on March 24, 2005

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