Special MLN Italian 2021: Elena Ferrante in a Global Context

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The board of MLN Italian is delighted to announce that its 2021 issue will be devoted to the work of Elena Ferrante.

Guest editors: Professors Tiziana De Rogatis, Stiliana Milkova, and Katrin Wehling Giorgi

The global success of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels has firmly established the author as one of the most powerful voices of contemporary World Literature. Ferrante’s Neapolitan quartet interweaves an imaginary that is profoundly rooted in Italian – or more specifically, Neapolitan – culture, while also debating topics and issues of globalization as her female protagonists negotiate the tensions between local identity and national and transnational belonging. This special issue, Elena Ferrante in a Global Context, seeks to articulate and advance scholarly dialogues on how Ferrante interrogates a series of margins – relating to gender roles and feminine identity, topography, or language – that are of relevance on a global scale. This issue furthermore provides a platform for the intersection of a range of scholarly, interdisciplinary and comparative approaches that address issues including gendered urban spaces, female friendship, the negotiation of language and place, liminal cityscapes as well as the author’s reception and the HBO TV series My Brilliant Friend. In short, Elena Ferrante in a Global Context highlights and analyzes the international phenomenon of Elena Ferrante in its global contexts and interactions.

The issue opens with an essay by Tiziana de Rogatis which lends a theoretical framework for the entire issue, discussing elements and components of the relevance of Ferrante’s works in a global context and for the global novel. The remaining essays are organized in thematic/theoretical clusters: new epistemological categories for understanding and representing contemporary reality such as new materialism, posthumanism, and trans-corporeality; narrative forms of traumatic realism and the role of the city in constructing Ferrante’s feminine subjects; comparative analyses of Ferrante, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Alice Sebold, and Slavenka Drakulic; the reception of the Neapolitan Novels and their adaptation as an HBO TV series.