Category Italian

On the Language and Style of Domenico Starnone’s Novels

By Chiara De Caprio Translated from Italian by Rebecca Falkoff Considering the novels and short stories of Domenico Starnone from a linguistic perspective means to bring out the double-edged quality and the internal stratification of their linguistic composition. A reasonable pace and feverish emotional sequences intersect in his works. His style alternates between solitary self-reflection, […]

A Neapolitan Grandfather on the Edge: Domenico Starnone’s “Trick”

While the protagonist’s relationship with his beloved, unfaithful wife (and his erotic liaison with Mena) remain on the background, along with Saverio’s jealousy towards Betta, the foreground is taken by the scurvy grandfather and his know-it-all four-year-old grandson.

Often Petty, Definitely Bourgeois: Caterina Bonvicini’s “The Year of Our Love,” Translated from Italian by Antony Shugaar

By Alex Valente Caterina Bonvicini’s The Year of Our Love, translated by Antony Shugaar, is the story of Olivia and Valerio, who meet and grow up together in the same house while belonging to different families and class, who lose each other and find each other again several times, and who maintain a bizarre romantic […]

Mary Magdalene and the Revolutionary Power of Women’s History: Adriana Valerio’s “Mary Magdalene: Women, the Church and the Great Deception,” translated from Italian by Wendy Wheatley

Engaging in dialogue with an Italian feminist tradition that seeks to retrieve the voices and experiences of our female ancestors, Valerio is unwavering in her commitment to unearthing a “female genealogy” which will liberate women from the male-authored tradition that has misrepresented us for millennia.

Revisiting a Retro Radical: Anna Kuliscioff’s “The Monopoly of Man,” Translated from Italian by Lorenzo Chiesa

In 1890, Anna Kuliscioff stood before a packed house at the Philological Circle in Milan and delivered a searing speech on the “woman question.” 131 years later, Lorenzo Chiesa brings us Kuliscioff’s speech from that day, “The Monopoly of Man,” for the first time in English translation.

Turin’s Skies, Women’s Bodies, and Foreign Lands: Marina Jarre’s “Distant Fathers,” Translated from Italian by Ann Goldstein

The centrality of women’s experiences in current Italian fiction has drawn attention to previously neglected works. Although Jarre’s frankness about the body, from childhood to older age, is not shocking after Ferrante, it marked a new contribution to Italian literature in her time.

Natalia Ginzburg

“The Shattered House”: Lynne Sharon Schwartz on Natalia Ginzburg

nstead of by century or by literary movement, writers of fiction might be classified by times of day or slants of light. Tolstoy would fall under the clarity of high noon, Dostoievski  the hysteria of three a.m. Natalia Ginzburg’s pervasive wit and minute details would suggest a morning sensibility, while her repetitions and obsessiveness feel nocturnal. In the end, though, she is crepuscular, like Chekhov.

Natalia Ginzburg

A Short History of “Reintroducing Natalia Ginzburg”

We are stuck in a loop of “reintroducing Natalia Ginzburg.” The current iteration of that loop depends on publishers’ marketing of Ginzburg as a precursor to Elena Ferrante. However, this genealogy arises out of a necessity to sell books; Ginzburg’s relation to her peers—Cesar Pavese, Elsa Morante, Italo Calvino—has far more relevance than the specter of her impact on Ferrante.

Global Perspectives, Trauma, and the Global Novel: Ferrante’s Poetics Between Storytelling, Uncanny Realism and Dissolving Margins

Excerpt from: de Rogatis, Tiziana. “Global Perspectives, Trauma, and the Global Novel: Ferrante’s Poetics between Storytelling, Uncanny Realism, and Dissolving Margins.” MLN 136:1 (2021), 6-9. © 2021 Johns Hopkins University Press.  Reprinted with permission of Johns Hopkins University Press. Read the Introduction to “Elena Ferrante in a Global Context,” the special issue of Modern Language […]

Elena Ferrante in a Global Context

This special issue was born out of the interweaving of our personal and professional stories, at the intersection of our different mother tongues and acquired languages, homelands, and disciplinary backgrounds. An Italian-Neapolitan scholar in Italy, a Bulgarian scholar in the United States, and a German scholar in the United Kingdom, we found a common ground through the study of Elena Ferrante and on the pages of a 2016 volume of the Italian scholarly journal Allegoria.

Selfhood and Narration: Goliarda Sapienza’s “Meeting In Positano,” Translated from Italian by Brian Robert Moore

By Maria Morelli Written in 1984, Meeting in Positano marks the last volume of Goliarda Sapienza’s Autobiography of Contradictions (as she herself labelled her unorthodox autobiographical project) which began in 1967 with Lettera Aperta (Open Letter) and which her premature demise brought to an abrupt end. Departing from the narratological approach that had marked the […]

Loyalty in Language: Marco Balzano’s “I’m Staying Here,” Translated from Italian by Jill Foulston

By Maria Massucco The opening chapters of Marco Balzano’s I’m Staying Here find the narrator Trina’s memory coming into focus around a time of historic upheaval: Until that time [spring of ’23], life had kept pace with the rhythm of the seasons, especially in these border valleys. Like an echo that fades away, history seemed […]

Reading Elena Ferrante in Bulgaria(n)

By Stiliana Milkova Last year I read Elena Ferrante’s new novel The Lying Life of Adults (La vita bugiarda degli adulti) in Bulgarian, in Ivo Yonkov’s translation from Italian. It was September 2020, it had just been released by Ferrante’s Bulgarian publisher, Colibri, and I was in Bulgaria myself. I went to Helikon, the largest […]

Images of Imagination: Saskia Ziolkowski Reviews Antonio Tabucchi’s “Stories with Pictures” and Interviews Translator Elizabeth Harris

Stories with Pictures draws attention to the communal nature of artistic endeavors, made even more collaborative with the additional presence of the translator.

Mapping Absence: Andrea Bajani’s “If You Kept a Record of Sins,” translated from Italian by Elizabeth Harris

By Brian Robert Moore On the first page of Esther Kinsky’s Grove, a book translated by Caroline Schmidt which explores bereavement against the backdrop of a trip through Italy, the narrator details a Romanian mourning ritual: “In Romanian churches believers light candles in two separate places. It might be two niches in the wall, two […]