What’s in a Name?

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The latest issue of The Gentlewoman features Deborah Orr’s email interview with Elena Ferrante, who shares her thoughts on anonymity, the protagonists in her Neapolitan novels, and feminism. Ferrante says:

Using the name Elena helped only to reinforce the truth of the story I was telling. Even those who write need that “willing suspension of disbelief,” as Coleridge called it. The fictional treatment of biographical material—a treatment that for me is essential—is full of traps. Saying “Elena” has helped to tie myself down to the truth.


Stephanie Bento is a writer, classical cellist, and photographer living in Washington, DC. In her writing, she is interested in exploring the musicality of sound and form, and our connection to time and place. Find out more about her creative work at saudadebelle.com, or say hello/bonjour on Twitter @saudadebelle. More from this author →