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|The Family Lexicon of Natalia
Ginzburg: Re-living Life in Words
|Volume rilegato collezionabile
Words and expressions confer identity to a group and appear as the only “archaeological certainty” of family memory in Natalia Ginzburg’s autobiographical work Family Sayings (Lessico famigliare,1963). The writer reconstructs the world of her past by tracing the thread of family sayings, imprinted as recorded moments in family memory. They re-evoke values, mores and circumstances that define the family profile and collapse into forming a separate semantic universe inhabited by everyone who participates in it. While the memory-narration arrives at its configuration through an alternative ordering of concordances and discordances, it acquires a rich oral texture in the multiplicity of voices registered by the writing subject in her auditory role. Born in an Italian Jewish family and having lived through the period of Fascist ascendancy from the days of her childhood right through the years of her youth Ginzburg offers in her book the example of an autobiographical narration where the life history of one can be read at best as incidental, merged into the life histories of many others, unfolding as an open-ended choral narrative – the testimony of an epoch.