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Le piccole virtù

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  1,954 ratings  ·  252 reviews
Questa raccolta di saggi e articoli, scritti in vari anni dalla Ginzburg, affinano e migliorano il suo stile, dimostrando le straordinarie capacità comunicative dell'autrice. Questo libro, pubblicato tra due grandi opere come Le voci della sera e Lessico famigliare, non risulta ridimensionato dall'accostamento con le due opere più celebri della scrittice.
Le piccole virtù presenta abbozzi, r/>Le
Paperback, ET Scrittori, 139 pages
Published 1998 by Einaudi (first published 1962)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  1,954 ratings  ·  252 reviews

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Steven Godin
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italy, essays, non-fiction
From married life to the murder of her husband, the Italian writer Natalia Ginzburg shows a deft lightness of touch in these eleven moving and personal essays written between 1944 and 1960. Ginzburg’s deceptively simple style is inspiring, making this easy to read for just about anybody, and has at least one something we can all relate to. Some of the essays chronicle Ginzburg’s time in exile with her family during the Second World War, others compare the life she experienced in Italy with life ...more
Jul 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"We have seen reality's darkest face, and it no longer horrifies us. And there are still those who complain that writers use bitter, violent language, that they write about cruel, distressing things, that they present reality in the worst possible light."- Natalia Ginzburg, The Son of God

I picked this one up and started reading because it was in the Italian lit section at the library and I'm trying to read more women writers. It took me a while to realize that these were short essays and not short stor
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This collection was genius. So exquisite a delight when you come across a writer who thinks for themselves. She describes herself as a tiny flea of a writer, but her minute observations on life fill up the heart. The last essay on parenting is irreverent but so wise; I underlined every line and am learning from it.
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am in the minority when it comes to this book. And I have wracked my brain trying to understand why it is held in such high, high regard. There are a handful of short essays in this collection that I thought were excellent, but I found the majority of them almost interminable. The context here, and so many of the essays, is World War II, Italian fascism, the horrors of what unfolded as communities were ravaged. Her dismissive, shallow essays on England can be seen as cries for home, I understa ...more
Maritza Buendía
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The little virtues" by Natalia Ginzburg is a short collection of essays that contains thought-provoking observations on topics such as domestic life, raising children, relationships as well as beautiful insights from past experiences, her homeland, and her call to write (vocation). Written in the first person, her style is simple, direct and intimate, and conveys the author's keen eye for observation and genuine wisdom. At times, her tone is melancholic and a bit defeatist, but never preachy. A ...more
Liina Bachmann
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Not all the essays are equally compelling in "Little Virtues", but those that are good, are very good.
They are very dense, not in a sense that they are difficult to read but almost every other line is something you'd want to underline and remember. There are excellent points about what it means being a writer, how to (not) raise your children and why England is the most melancholy country in the world, among others.
What bothered me a tiny bit was the impression that she justified her being thr
i couldn't finish it
too negetive
i just went through first 20 pages
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first two stories (essays?) for somewhat reason failed to grip me at all, I read the words but my brain didn't connect with the content.
Colour me surprised when I found that after those, this collection got better and better and I really enjoyed myself - the last piece after which this is named was my favourite and I recommend it to anyone.
Also, what a beautiful book to behold and, more so, hold - the pages are so buttery soft, I stroked them on several occasions...
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In his introduction to the first edition of The Little Virtues, Italo Calvino described Ginzburg’s essays as a lesson in literature. And that’s partly how I think about them too – as of a new form of autobiographical writing that is closer to poetry than to prose. Not as a consequence of language per se, which is deceptively simple and not exactly lyrical, but rather as a consequence of their sparsity and obliqueness. Essence distilled yet not touched upon bluntly. They are similar to icebergs, these essays. Clear ...more
Jul 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Italian "post-war" writer except that the earliest essays here date from during WWII when she and her husband, both Italian Jews, were in internal exile (he was subsequently killed by the Nazis for his anti-fascist activism).
Ginzburg is famous for the elegant simplicity of her style (which makes reading her in Italian manageable as well) and her cool chronicling of the domestic and internal aspects of her life, despite having been caught up in some of the most tumultuous public events of her er
If we are rich and want to educate our children so that they have simple habits it must in that case be made very clear that all the money saved by following such simple habits is to be spent, without any hint of meanness, on other people.
I was all for giving this a three star before I hit "The Son of Man", so kudos to that one. Other than that, this is an oddly middle class collection, teetering as it does between utmost disaster and bourgeoisie complacency with some stirring and well reasoned momen
4.5 stars. Utterly wonderful, but I've been too easily distracted recently to give this my complete attention. Writing like this deserves clarity and time to really absorb Ginzburg's words and appreciate her ideas. So glad I picked this up though. Will definitely be revisiting this and reading more of her work!
“They do not understand our attitude to reality. We are closer to the truth of things.”

I liked some stories in this collection more than others. My favourites were those dealing with war, especially Winter in the Abruzzi (1944) and The Son of Man (1946).
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was a wonderful little book - thoughtful, yet, to the point. Lots to mull over, so will probably read it again at some point.
Dec 20, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
Note: I won this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway. (Hooray, my first time!)

I recently read a New Yorker article by Belle Boggs about this book. I have 2 small children, one of whom was born this tumultuous year. So what better time to gain such heralded insight into what to teach them?

My experience of reading this collection of essays mirrored Boggs's. Ginzburg's writing is hauntingly beautiful. Like many books about modern parenting, she frequently questions her children's
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, essays
I'm really glad I stumbled across this little gem in Daunt Books. The Little Virtues is a collection of 11 personal essays on topics from England (this one was particularly scathing and funny) to motherhood. Ginzburg's writing is something truly special; her luminous, clear prose really is a joy to read.
Thai Son
Oct 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographical, essays
This collection of essays has been amazing to me.
I will probably look back to this as something adorable in time to come.
Great content here and there, good flow, amusing examples and references.

Jul 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Little Virtues contains 11 essays by Natalia Ginzburg. A few were written in Rome, post war, and the rest during her years in England in the sixties. The fourth, fifth and sixth (La Maisonette Volpe, He and I, and The Son of Man) spoke to me the most. Some were interesting, like Winter in the Abruzzi about her years in exile, while others (like Human Relationships) were too general for me to really grasp anything special from them. She notes the unevenness of the collection in the preface, w ...more
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ginzburg has become one of my favorite writers. Her writing style is deceptively simple and it is sometimes surprising when she ruthlessly cuts to the center of a matter. I like her tough female perspective on parenting and vocation, war and its aftershocks, and culture. I especially liked the first and last essays in this collection. The last two paragraphs of the first essay, "Winter in the Abruzzi," about her husband dying in prison and reflections of happiness and fate is devastating and uns ...more
Ana Ruiz
Someday I will regain my capacity to read beautiful literature such as this one without wandering off into dreamland. This book takes a lot of concentration because it's so chock-full of beauty. Its severe lack of ambition got on my nerves at times, but otherwise, a beautiful collection of essays. Hopefully, I will revisit it after having read one or two of Ginzburg's novels.
Camille McCarthy
A really different book of essays. Ginzburg talks about things that most people probably wouldn't, like wearing worn out shoes and her opinions of London as a dreary, depressing place of people with no imagination. I appreciated her honest voice and her openness in these quirky essays. It is a short book and Ginzburg is an interesting person who is not afraid to address complicated topics.
This collection of short stories combines text that were published in the 40s and 50s, and cover a number of topics: post-war Italy, England, raising children, writing. The one thing that unites them all: beautiful prose, melodic sentences and an air of timelessness.
Gorgeously written and wise. Read while nursing my newborn son. The moving titular essay is what drew me to it, but the rest of the collection is stirring and imaginative. I'm becoming a big fan of WWII-era Italian writers, apparently.
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One I will come back to again and again. Every essay is captivating and insightful and has awakened in me the friend, parent and person I want to be.
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
These essays were an absolute solid 3 stars for me because I thoroughly enjoyed 3 of them, found a few somewhat interesting, and was bored to tears by a couple. It is a real mixed bag of topics and the best ones left me with questions that I would like to find the answers to regarding the author's life. The last essay was advice about raising children that I found sound and timeless. One essay about the horrors and blandness of English food was quietly hilarious. I doubt that I will remember muc ...more
Emily Brown
I think this is my best book of the year. Natalia Ginzburg has the strong, logical, feminine voice I've been longing for. Her essays on teaching children, human relationships, and the immorality of silence especially resonate with me.
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a powerful, beautiful, soul-lifting little book. I'm so grateful to Belle Boggs and Vivian Gornick for singing its praises and piquing my curiosity. I'll be rereading it.
Joslyn Allen
Review published at

Natalia Ginzburg's lauded little book of essays was a sometimes delightful, sometimes chiding experience to read. Ginzburg writes with minimalist sobriety, her role as a survivor embodied in her work.

"There is a kind of uniform monotony in the fate of man. Our lives unfold according to ancient, unchangeable laws, according to an invariable and ancient rhythm. Our dreams are never realized and as soon as we see them betrayed we rea
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book primarily because of the title essay, which arrives last in the sequence here. But really, each of the eleven pieces is its own meditation on small and large virtues, the ways in which we strive for great selves through each tiny action (and her impatience with those for whom the tiny actions themselves have taken primacy). Her dislike of England, portrayed in two vividly antagonistic essays, is exactly this disdain for people who have taken up order and stability as first-ran ...more
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Italian novelist, essayist, translator and playwright, who has written of her unconventional family and its opposition in Turin to Fascist oppression. Ginzburg's novels are a mixture of reminiscence, observation, and invention. Her novel Lessico famigliare (Family sayings) won the Strega Prize in 1963. Much of her fiction is written in the first person in a plain style, and constructed almost enti ...more
“When I write something I usually think it is very important and that I am a very fine writer. I think this happens to everyone. But there is one corner of my mind in which I know very well what I am, which is a small, a very small writer. I swear I know it. But that doesn't matter much to me. Only, I don't want to think about names: I can see that if I am asked 'a small writer like who?' it would sadden me to think of the names of other small writers. I prefer to think that no one has ever been like me, however small, however much a mosquito or a flea of a writer I may be. The important thing is to be convinced that this really is your vocation, your profession, something you will do all your life.” 8 likes
“Human relationships have to be rediscovered every day. We have to remember constantly that every kind of meeting with our neighbor is a human action and so it is always evil or good, true or deceitful, a kindness or a sin.” 6 likes
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