Posts Tagged: elena ferrante
The editors at Asymptote Journal certainly couldn’t have expected Elena Ferrante to be outed when they planned their October 2016 issue, which includes Rebecca Falkoff and Stiliana Milkova’s translation of a 2015 speech given by Anita Raja. In “Translation as a Practice of Acceptance,” Raja argues that “to confront translational difficulty with inventiveness does not mean renouncing one’s devotion to the original.”...more
Essayist Marie Myung-Ok Lee’s obsession with author photos leads to authorial reflections on gender, representation, and what writers owe the public in “Occupy Author Photo: On Elena Ferrante, Privacy, and Women Writers” at The Millions. Starting with her own experiences and branching out to Mary Oliver, Sarah Howe, and eventually Elena Ferrante, she calls for a rethinking of the author photo and its social implications....more
While the outing of Elena Ferrante and the robbing of Kim Kardashian were not inherently gendered acts, the responses to them certainly have been. In light of these two seemingly divergent issues, the New Yorker’s Jia Tolentino meditates on the framing of female ambition in the media, and what happens “when women signify too much”:
…the problem is not so much about what happens to women after they become established and successful.
Earlier this week, Aaron Brady wrote presciently in his column for The New Inquiry about the ethical implications of revealing Elena Ferrante’s identity. He pointed out that in searching for her “real” identity, reporters were forgetting that one of the greatest things about Elena Ferrante is her fictions, and that at the heart of it, they are still committing the unconscionable act of violating a woman’s privacy:
The Neopolitan novels are literally and directly and magnificently about female self-making, the importance of names, and the meaning of being a woman in public.
At n+1, Dayna Tortorici defends Elena Ferrante’s anonymity against yet another round of exposure, calling the unmaskers out for insensitivity and greed. Tortorici believes it’s all too easy to be distracted from the integrity of the book by the author’s bio and personality....more
On Lit Hub, Stephanie Grant examines the deep pleasure and connection readers experience with the works of Elena Ferrante and Karl Ove Knausgaard. She suspects the familiar tone of both authors’ recent series might help otherwise fiction-averse readers dive into the narrative:
To put it another way, the intimacy of first-person narration in these novels sets the threshold for suspending one’s disbelief relatively low.
Ferrante’s novels about women like Lila and Lenu are a potent reminder that working-class women’s perspectives are out there, even if we can’t always hear each other, even if we’re sometimes embarrassed and alone, even if we feel exasperated by a system that valorizes experiences and credentials that we can never claim.
For Lit Hub, book designer Jennifer Heuer reflects on sexism in publishing and analyzes “chick-lit” book covers that rely on gender stereotypes to target female readers:
The bigger discussion is the genre itself: light-weight novels aimed at a female audience is a symptom of sexism in publishing.
The goal is to deliver something from another language into your own language so people will read it and like it. I think sometimes it’s forgotten that you have to be a good writer in your own language.
As part of its “Multilingual Wordsmiths” series, the Los Angeles Review of Books features an interview with Ann Goldstein, translator of Elena Ferrante’s novels....more
Our entire body, like it or not, enacts a stunning resurrection of the dead just as we advance toward our own death. We are, as you say, interconnected.
For the New Yorker, Nicola Lagioia, author of the forthcoming novel Ferocity, interviews Elena Ferrante about Ferrante’s own forthcoming novel, Frantumaglia....more
This year’s children’s literature has some exceptional bonafides. Over the next few months, a number of acclaimed novelists, including Jane Smiley and Elena Ferrante, will be publishing children’s books. Whether a five-year-old can distinguish between literary and genre fiction, only time will tell....more
At Electric Literature, Lincoln Michel wonders why readers care so much about Elena Ferrante’s “real” identity, particularly when the anonymous author has made it clear that she believes books “have no need of their authors” after they’ve been penned. Michel writes:
Still, the greater question is why anyone cares?
Whether you’re a writer or not, you can imagine looking at your life and thinking, “What have I done?” What she’s doing in these books is asking, “What does my life mean?” She’s using that concrete image of being a writer and having a friendship, but she’s investigating the meaning of life.
As I discovered during a visit in September, the series of books offered a unique view of this complicated city, leading me away from popular tourist sites and helping to explain the city’s social, economic and geographic divisions. To view the Naples of Ms.
The addictive quality of the Neapolitan novels on which everyone agrees may finally derive from their unequaled sensitivity to what it feels like to be in and with history—sometimes in anticipation, often in contempt or fear, always with excitement and attention.
In the Saturday Essay, Anna March takes an unflinching look at the historical film Suffragette, which attempts to portray the women who took part in the suffrage movement during the early 1900s. While the film does draw attention to feminist successes, it glosses over the flaws of early activists, such as Susan B....more
Guernica has an excerpt from an upcoming collection of letters and interviews by Elena Ferrante, Fragments: On Writing, Reading, and Absence, featuring some beautiful prose on the origins of writing, some slant-eyed answers to questions of identity, and brutal melancholia brought on by her work....more
Alexander Chee writes for LitHub on Elena Ferrante’s pseudonymous, social-media-free existence and the choices other authors have made to dis/engage with social media at points in their careers:
Ferrante’s anonymity is something of a feminist project, also. No one is able to talk about her appearance.
After reading the first two books in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series, Sara Goldsmith enlisted her mother to translate the third book from Italian so that she didn’t have to wait another year for the English release. Now, for Slate, Goldsmith shares how the experience generated a new respect for the scope and craft of Ferrante’s novels, as well as how the project influenced her relationship with her mother:
For my mom and me—who, like all mothers and daughters, sometimes have a difficult relationship—the novels have given us a way to stay in closer touch and a subject to return to and discuss.