On the web site Electric Lit, Lincoln Michel asks: “We May Know Who Ferrante Is, But Have We Learned Anything?” (https://electricliterature.com/we-may-know-who-ferrante-is-but-have-we-learned-anything-d8ffa641e36f#.vn3qmjjqm).
Let’s tweak the question: “What can we learn by knowing?”
Ferrante’s readers didn’t really want to know, nor did her scholars. There has been an overwhelming, negative response to economy journalist Claudio Gatti’ s exposé of Elena Ferrante’s identity for reasons that we will explore in this brief course and that will lead us to discuss issues of authorship and women’s authorship in particular, readership’s expectations in fiction and non-fiction writing, motherhood and literary creation. We will survey and comment on the international response to Gatti vis à vis the book that Gatti says makes Ferrante a liar, and not just a pseudonymic author: Frantumaglia: A Writer’s Journey, a collection of essays and letters, which will come out, for the first time in English, November 1st; and vis à vis Ferrante’s first novel, Troubling Love. During our first meeting, the students will decide what the pertinent questions are that should lead our inquiry and in the third meeting they will deliver a presentation on other pseudonymic authors in the light of what has been discussed during the previous classes. This course will give the students an opportunity to practice their communicative skills and to refine their ability to ask questions.