Elena Ferrante Archive

Truth, Beauty, and The Lying Life of Adults

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As she listens to the stories the adults around her tell to explain their lives, Giovanna, the protagonist of Elena Ferrante’s new novel, navigates the crisis of her adolescence, arriving at her own understanding of how to become an adult—and how beauty and truth figure into that journey.

Truth and Lies in Elena Ferrante’s Incidental Inventions

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Over the course of Ferrante’s new essay collection, her commentary on the contingencies of telling both truth and lies shines new light on the relationship between narrative and the frightening reality she has elsewhere called the "frantumaglia."

The Unexpected Feminism of Elena Ferrante’s Scorned Woman

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In contrast to many other more contemporary narratives, Elena Ferrante’s 2002 novel does not seek to avoid or minimize the pain of a broken marriage by playing into fantasy and wish fulfillment.

Menstruation in Fiction

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Fiction illustrating menstruation clearly emphasizes the shame, myths and confusion surrounding it. But perhaps more, it illuminates, in a way that is uncommon for literature, the fear felt by the menstruating woman about her body, as well as a societal fear that the menstruating woman is a threat.

Authority, Authenticity, and Representation

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Thinking about #ownvoices within the broader framework of literature suggests that we acknowledge where our representations come from and who controls them—and that we strive to rectify the distortions and erasures generated by centuries of marginalization by always paying attention to whose voices get to be heard.

A Defense of Writerly Obsessions

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Every writer has obsessions. These range from overarching themes, like the exploration of Jewish identity that characterizes many a Philip Roth novel, to extremely, sometimes bizarrely, specific motifs. Where some would criticize this repetition as a dearth of original ideas, such lifelong attempts to work through fixations can be

Elena Ferrante & the Condition of a Woman’s Body

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In corporeal and metaphysical terms, Ferrante’s girls and women are made porous and penetrable, pervious and vulnerable, in ways that raise questions regarding the contemporary status of a woman’s body, and the modes of resistance we might fashion in changing its position.

The Domino Effect of Maleness in Literary Criticism

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Studies consistently show that women read more than men, and that the publishing industry is dominated by (white) women. So why, then, are male writers still reviewed in prestigious publications at far higher rates than women?

Why Does Cover Design Matter?

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In the space of a second spent looking at a book’s cover, we reach certain conclusions about its content. An internalized pool of knowledge built on years of reading experience gives us a clue as to how serious/funny/strange the book is likely to be.

The Arc of Joan Didion and Annie Dillard

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In my mind, Joan Didion and Annie Dillard are linked, two sides to the same coin, one the yin to the other’s yang. This is unfair to both women.