Tag Archives: Italian literature

Queering Family Roles and Gender Norms in Natalia Ginzburg’s “Valentino”

By Enrica Maria Ferrara Traditionally, Natalia Ginzburg was seen as a writer who did not take sides with the feminist movement, refused to endorse the cause of women as victims and men as perpetrators, thus conveying a “disinterested view of sexual politics that has inevitably alienated both male chauvinists and militant feminists” (Bullock 1-2). While […]

Unlived Lives in Natalia Ginzburg’s “Valentino” and “Sagittarius,” Translated from Italian by Avril Bardoni

By Eric Gudas One refers, as a commonplace, to “the unlived life”; but fiction excels at dramatizing people’s myriad unlived lives. Natalia Ginzburg’s fiction links stifled hopes and ambitions with suppressed speech. The narrators of Ginzburg’s Valentino and Sagittarius: Two Novellas (1957), which New York Review Books Classics has just reissued in Avril Bardoni’s decades-old […]

The Lying Life of Narrators

It seems hardly coincidental that Ferrante, whose own “true” identity has been the object of intense scrutiny and speculation, chooses to underscore the act of crafting a fiction about oneself.

Innocence Redeemed

By Richard Carvalho The Lying Lives of Adults starts with a misunderstanding: Giovanna, the protagonist, is 12. She is well into puberty, having been menstruating for a year. Her breasts seem to her over-large encumbrances inviting men’s unwelcome interest, and her burgeoning body is a profound source of shame. She hears her father say, prompted […]

The Gospel According to Elena Ferrante

As she probes the association of God with forces of repression and domination, Giovanna condemns the patriarchal nature of her relationship with Andrea.

Alone With Language

By David Kurnick You could tell it like a fairy tale: a malevolent father who curses his daughter with ugliness; a comely prince who, some difficult years later, lifts the curse by praising the girl’s beauty. An enchanted bracelet, invested with mysterious power by the father’s hated and feared sister, who practices the “terrible arts” […]

Elusions and Disillusions

Reading Elena Ferrante’s latest novel from this place of incertitude is consequently a puzzling, if not uncanny experience.

Live on August 31, 2020: Special Issue on Elena Ferrante’s New Novel “The Lying Life of Adults,” Translated by Ann Goldstein

Elena Ferrante and the Question of Gender, Pseudonyms, and Authorship

Mediterranean Crossings: Nadia Terranova’s “Farewell, Ghosts,” Translated from Italian by Ann Goldstein

A childhood home is an archive and a map. Nadia Terranova’s novel Farewell, Ghosts, in Ann Goldstein’s translation, summons the power of the house in order to dissect the relationship between self and space, memory and reality.

Translators on Books that Should Be Translated: Simona Baldelli’s “Evelina e le fate” (Evelina and the Fairies)

Baldelli’s inventiveness and skillful stylistic prowess are already noticeable in Evelina e le fate, with its vivid language adhering to a world of objects in which the characters come alive through a meddling of voices, each with its own substantive body

Voices Without Borders: Laura Imai Messina’s “The Phone Box at the Edge of the World,” Translated from Italian by Lucy Rand

By Claudia Dellacasa Ema are decorated votive wooden plaques left hanging up in Japanese shrines. At a distance, they all look the same. But if one is able to read what is written on them, one can take a glimpse of a fascinating number of stories, destinies, wishes, and hopes which emerge from an ostensible […]

Framing by Fragmentation: Elena Ferrante’s “Incidental Inventions,” Translated from Italian by Ann Goldstein

By Stiliana Milkova The timing of Elena Ferrante’s Incidental Inventions is impeccable – it offers us an aperitivo before we can delve into her new novel scheduled to come out in English translation in June 2020. While we wait, we can flip leisurely through the pages of Incidental Inventions, translated from Italian by Ann Goldstein, and already in bookstores. […]

Thresholds and Mothers: Elsa Morante’s “Arturo’s Island,” Translated from Italian by Ann Goldstein

By Saskia Elizabeth Ziolkowski Elsa Morante’s Arturo’s Island: A Novel is an enchanting, complex work about a boy, Arturo, growing up on the island Procida. He swims, struggles to understand his father, adores his dog, falls in love, and eventually leaves home. His drama of adolescent feelings is both universally relatable and singular. Since he […]

The Mother of All Questions: Donatella di Pietrantonio’s “A Girl Returned,” translated from Italian by Ann Goldstein

By Barbara Halla “Motherhood,” writes Jacqueline Rose in her book Mothers: An Essay on Love and Cruelty, “is … the place in our culture where we lodge, or rather bury, the reality of our conflicts, of what it means to be fully human” (1). More than one century of Italian literature has grappled precisely with […]

Translators on Books that Should be Translated: “Indigo” by Roberto Carretta and Renato Viola

by Stiliana Milkova The reclusive clockmaker Anton Ivanovic has disappeared from his apartment in Turin. His only friend, the erudite professor of mythology Joshua Momigliano, receives a letter which sends him on a quest to find out what happened to Anton. As Joshua asks in the opening pages, “Anton Ivanovic was a reserved, impenetrable man […]