Italian writer Natalia Ginzburg (1916-1991) lived a fascinating life full of politics, war, exile, tragedy, love, loss, and literature. In her novels, short stories, poetry, plays, and essays, she drew upon her experience and her keen capacity for observation and invention to create some of the twentieth century’s most arresting and enduring works. In this episode, Jacke takes a look at the political courage shown by Ginzburg and her family – and in particular her husband Leone Ginzburg, who at the tail end of World War II was tortured and killed in Rome’s famous Carcere di Regina Coeli (Queen of Heaven Prison) – and how it helped to shape Natalia Ginzburg’s life and career.
What is evil? Is it a force that lives outside us? Or something that dwells within? And how do we recognize it? Professor Rebecca Messbarger joins Jacke to discuss the problems of seeing evil and the particular ways that post-Fascist Italian writers dealt with the dilemma. We also hear the story of how a mild-mannered Italian professor’s scholarly research eventually led to her roaming the Internet in an attempt to purchase a cadaver.