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My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante (Book One of the Neapolitan Novels) In a poor, 's Italian neighborhood, two girls, Elena and Lila. Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend: In Search of Parthenope and the “Founding” of a New City Franco Gallippi The aim of this chapter is to examine the first. ELENA FERRANTE things that were important to him, and had even neglected to say goodbye to the children, I felt certain that it wasn't serious. He was going.
Another statistical and linguistic study focused on the analysis of a hundred contemporary Italian novels. This research, conducted for the University of Trieste by Prof. Stefano Ondelli, linguist, and for the University of Padua, by prof. Michele Cortelazzo, linguist, prof. Arjuna Tuzzi and Paolo Nadalutti, statisticians. The results of this analysis, commented on in , show a strong similarity between the works of Ferrante and those of Starnone.
My becoming was a becoming in her wake. What we do know is, how they generate a sort of model that Elena tries to fol- low all her life. Put differently, the absence of Lila has led to the presence of words that attempt to diachronically reconstruct a story aimed at finding a solution for a present problem. The solution lies in the act of writing because writing is, on the one hand, removed from the chaos of reality and, on the other, endowed with a critical distance that can potentially suggest a way out of a difficult situation.
In a recent interview, Ferrante states the creative process in writing, whether it is an order comprised of fragments that linger in the memory or a selection of fragments that become a story, it is difficult to define what happens in that mysterious act: The gift that Lila has is that of being able to conceal the artifi- ciality of writing so that one does not only read words, but words that have the power to convey the vitality of life, its truth.
In her desire not to betray the truth, Ferrante provides the reader with Lila, whose absence generates the presence of words. Lila is therefore absent but she is ever present. What this may imply is that the tension between Lila and Elena could be interpreted as an attempt to find a point of interaction between the written world epistemology and the unwritten world ontology. Lila, instead, suggests a chal- lenge to the position that results from the figure of Ulysses who does not put himself in accord with the ways of Nature.
Lila seems to represent a tension that seeks a shift in paradigm. Her writing and her voice are the song of the Siren Parthenope, who, accord- ing to legend, died on the site where Naples was founded. But it was a foundation without love. Ulysses did not follow the song of Parthenope, its humanizing effect, and for this she committed suicide. If it were to break, the castle would be destroyed and disaster would befall the city of Naples.
In relation to this, it is significant that in Book Three Elena takes a walk in downtown Naples at four in the morning.
Something she had never done before. This occurs after her meeting with Professor Galiani. At this point, Elena questions her validity as a writer and the implicit motives behind her vocation.
And she speaks in terms of founding a new city: To change my origins? To change, along with myself, others, too? Repopulate this now deserted city with citizens not assailed by poverty or greed, not bitter or angry, who could delight in the splendor of the landscape like the divinities who once inhabited it?
In other words, and this pays homage to Matilde Serao, it suggests that in order to find a solution to the problems of the present, one must travel back to the source, to the womb, to where it all began. NOTES 1. In an interview by Paolo Di Stefano, Ferrante says: See also Michael A.
But there was one condition: If the egg were to be damaged, Virgil warned, the city would fall and the castle would sink to the sea. Both have power to control natural elements.
Both come from the East and died on the shores of the Gulf of Naples. And in the seventeenth century, at the height of the Baroque, the body of Saint Patrizia was carried to a monastery atop the hill of Caponapoli, where, centuries earlier, the tomb of Parthenope was located. In Leggende Napoletane, Serao dedicates a chapter also to Virgil see 29— All translations from Italian to English are mine unless stated otherwise.
His books are available on site: All translations from Il ventre di Napoli are mine. But Galasso and Croce are quite right to find it demeaning because, as they sense, the ste- reotype provided an excuse for failure and weakness. Giuseppe Galasso is a famous Neapolitan historian, journalist, politician, and university professor.
Benedetto Croce was a philosopher, historian, literary critic, and politician. See Ledeen for more on the cholera in Naples: Originally, during the Middle Ages, the fondaci were commercial sections of the city where a variety of products were sold. In the time period in which Serao writes about the fondaci, they are a poverty-stricken and dis- ease-infested part of the city. He discusses the dif- ference between ontology and epistemology, and claims that the worst kind of postmodernism has confused the two, resulting in the loss of a sense of reality.
But above all Leopardi who in the Zibaldone discusses in detail the art of concealing the artifice of writing: See http: Sono Lighea, sono figlia di Calliope. Non credere alle favole inventate su di noi: Translation mine.
You think you hired a worker? This woman is much, much more. Because she has the type of mind that normally no woman has but also that not even we men have. She designed shoes that I still sell today in Naples and outside, and I make a lot of money. And she renovated my shop in Piazza dei Martiri with such imagination that it became a salon for the rich people from Via Chiaia, from Posillipo, from the Vomero. But she has a crazy streak, she thinks she can always do what she wants.
Come, go, fix, break. You think I fired her? Just like that, vanished. E la voleva senza guastarla, per farla durare. La voleva non per fottersela, quella parola applicata a Lila lo disturbava. La voleva per baciarla e accarezzarla. La voleva per essere accarezzato, aiutato, guidato, comandato. La voleva per vedere come cambiava col passare del tempo, come invecchiava.
La voleva per ragionarci e per essere aiutato a ragionare. Ha parlato di lei come a me, a me che ci siamo per sposare, non ha mai parlato.
Storia di chi fugge e di chi resta —87 This is not the experience of falling in love the way the troubadours understood it. Eros is much more impersonal than falling in love. Amor is something personal that the troubadours recognized. Voleva trascinarci fuori da noi stessi, strapparci la vecchia pelle e imporcene una nuova, adeguata a quella che si stava inventando lei? Disse che la faccia schifosa delle cose non bastava a scriv- ere un romanzo: Storia di chi fugge e di chi resta Il mio diventare era diven- tare dentro la sua scia.
Cambiare la mia nascita? Cambiare, insieme a me stessa, anche gli altri? At the time of writing the final draft of this chapter, I did not have access to the original Italian version of Book Four. Ann Goldstein was still in the process of translating it, and there was no time to order the original, do the reading and research, and include it in my argument.
However, I was able to closely view the cover of the Italian original on the Internet. In a future version of this chapter, I will defi- nitely include Book Four.
Il cavaliere inesistente. Mondadori, Lezioni americane. Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, Campbell, Joseph. The Power of Myth. Anchor Books, Croce, Benedetto. Storie e leggende napoletane. Adelphi, Del Grosso, Alberto. Corriere della Sera. Nero napoletano. Marsilio, Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica Icn. Ferrante, Elena. Storia del nuovo cognome. Storia di chi fugge e di chi resta. Storia della bambina perduta. My Brilliant Friend. Ann Goldstein.
Europa Editions, The Story of a New Name. Ferraris, Maurizio. Manifesto del nuovo realism. Laterza, Ferri, Sandro and Sandra. Interview with Elena Ferrante. The Paris Review. Sergio, Spanu Dir. Rai Due. Naples Episode. The Prophet. Heinemann, Ledeen, Michael A. New Praface by the Author. Transaction Publishers: New Jersey, Leopardi, Giacomo. Rolando Damiani. Luzzi, Joseph. The Guardian.
Letters to a Young Poet. Joan M.
San Rafael, CA: New World Library, Serao, Matide. Leggende Napoletane. Giuseppe Ottino Editore, Il ventre di Napoli. Fratelli Treves, Preface by Antonio Pascale. Rizzoli, Tomasi di Lampedusa, Giuseppe. Feltrinelli, Tomasi di Lampedusa. The Professor and the Siren. Marina Warner. Stephen Twilley. The Aeneid. Allen Mendelbaum. Bantam Classics, Related Papers. By Stiliana Milkova.
Local Flavour vs Global Readerships: The Elena Ferrante Project and Translatability. By Elisa Segnini. By Stefania Lucamante. Film Review: Ferrante Fever by Giacomo Durzi. By Nicoletta Marini-Maio. This research, conducted for the University of Trieste by Prof. Stefano Ondelli, linguist, and for the University of Padua, by prof.
Michele Cortelazzo, linguist, prof. Arjuna Tuzzi and Paolo Nadalutti, statisticians. The results of this analysis, commented on in , show a strong similarity between the works of Ferrante and those of Starnone.
The first two statistical studies thus designate the talented writer Domenico Starnone as the author of the novels signed Ferrante.
At first teacher, then journalist, he participated as a screenwriter in various films. He has written about fifteen essays and about twenty novels. For some literary chroniclers, the fact that Starnone writes under the pseudonym Ferrante is an open secret.
This Espresso article, translated in French Domenico Starnone has never acknowledged that he writes under the pseudonym Ferrante, thus reassuring the majority of the readers, convinced that only a woman can write the novels signed Ferrante.
Published in early October , a journalistic investigation by Claudio Gatti described the evolution of the Starnone-Raja couple's assets.