The Ferrante Letters An Experiment In Collective Criticism
The Ferrante Letters An Experiment In Collective Criticism – Now I am quietly waiting for the destruction of my personality to look beautiful, interesting and modern again.
Like few other works of contemporary literature, Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels found passionate and engaged readers around the world. Inspired by Ferrante’s intense portrayal of female friendship and women’s intellectual life, the four critics embarked on a project that was both work and play: to create a series of epistolary readings of the Neapolitan Quartet that together would develop new ways of reading and thinking. is
The Ferrante Letters An Experiment In Collective Criticism
In a series of original and daring readings of Ferrante’s work and his fictional world, Sarah Chihaya, Merve Emre, Kathryn Hill, and Jill Richards strike a tone at once critical and personal, talking about literature. Get a way to do it that falls in between. Seminars and book clubs. His letters show the slow, fragmented and creative growth of ideas that underwrites all literary criticism and also illuminates the lives of writers outside the academy.
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Presents an improvisational, collaborative, and cumulative model for reading and writing with others, proposing a new method the authors call collective critique. A book for Ferrante fans and literary scholars seeking new modes of intellectual exchange,
Offers sharp criticism, dispassionate riffs, and the pleasure of giving oneself over to extended conversations about fiction with friends.
Jill Richards is an assistant professor of English and related faculty in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Yale University. He is the author of
It is an experiment in what would happen if the boundaries, forms, and forms of literary criticism were dissolved and the views of critics blurred into one another, which the authors recognize as an exciting and frightening possibility.
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“The dark tone lends the book a seductive humanity, one that evokes a joy often associated with novels: the character’s happiness is the most provocative claim in . . .
Can not criticism merely illuminate the text; It can also imitate a work, inhabit its form. This makes for fascinatingly reflective reading, in which the author, characters in a plot of his own creation, gradually succumbs to Ferrante’s themes. In a world of lazy pimps and miserable women, where violence is mundane, the keenest thugs hail from Naples. ‘Don’t take us for Italians, we Neapolitans are special,’ says a hitman to a sad-eyed streetwalker, before beating him to near death to make some forgotten point about loyalty and betrayal.
This will lead to my thoughts on violence and class and ethnicity in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels: how rarely we see the violent male world through the eyes of women, not least the women who pull themselves out of the dirt.
Maybe at some point I’ll zoom out to paint a sad portrait of myself. Here I am in my very combustible dressing gown, making coffee with a $7.50 kettle I bought at K-Mart, before I struggle to sit down and write each morning. I would describe the slight plasticity, the useful shape, the dull click of the switch. Hopefully I’ve made it clear that this is a kettle not made with the future in mind: it’s a daily reminder of uncertainty and impermanence and impermanence. Here comes the meta-commentary on trying to think critically about criticism, a central-circle-jerk, while the world around you emerges. Will I finally confess to you that I bought this kettle after Russell Hobbs Heritage Vogue was repossessed by the son of a real estate agent who inherited his father’s property, and if I do confess, What will be my motivation? To imply that I spent so much of the year thinking about men’s violence before I started thinking about Ferrante, or Pasolini, or the group of female scholars writing back against the masculinist rhetoric of the academy? Does my confession carry any weight when dead bodies keep piling up on the news and fascists make loud noises and I don’t want to create false parallels because one violence cannot be replaced by another but in the perpetual scroll all that get started? blurry?
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Its? Does exposing the scene of criticism add anything significant to the text we are evaluating? Am I telling you that perhaps, in my sorry state, unable to distinguish from here, my opinions cannot be trusted? Am I explaining why I sound like someone who has lost faith? Or am I thereby seriously rejecting a notion of public criticism that pretends to be bodiless: without race or gender or a tired heart?
In the summer of 2015, North American literary scholars Sarah Chihaya, Merve Emre, Jill Richards and Catherine Hill conducted ‘An Experiment in Collective Criticism’. Each month they would each read an installment of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels. Each month he will pen letters to his ‘fantastic friends’ on the topic, which will be published in the online academic journal Post 45.
The project is framed as a rejection of the academy’s subjective and rigid standards of success, yet it emerges from such a paradigm. These are enthusiastic young scholars who want to be productive during their precious student-free months of European vacations and lazy summers. That their correspondence has been republished as a print artifact by Columbia University Press attests to its seriousness.
Like many forms of life writing, the letter is a feminine genre: intimate and personal, written hastily without revision, the work of an amateur rather than a professional. Yet the letter maintains a nexus between the public and the private, as its author engages in a kind of performance of himself for the other—key to the interplay of the letter as a literary device, in the tradition of Samuel Richardson’s novels.
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(1997). Public letters can also be a powerful rhetorical strategy, exemplified by James Baldwin’s 1963 essay-a-letter ‘My Dungeon Shook’, addressed to his nephew, and reimplemented by Ta-Nehisi Coates. is
Apart from the above-mentioned deadlines, Ferrante letter-ers set no rules as to what their missives should contain: ‘It may be a confession, a character study, or a series of close readings, although all these address Started with the works of’. The journal’s address belies the fact that their correspondence is written with a mass audience and immediate online publication in mind, allowing the project to achieve more critical speed than is possible in the long publication schedules of print academic journals. is and, allowing for release over several months. Greater fluidity of thought. Rather than pretending that scholarly ideas originate in the minds of singular geniuses (which discredit the field after surveying them), they want to show how the ‘intimate labor of conversation’ – between colleagues, students, friends – Forms part of scholarship work. : ‘Our goal was to formalize the structure of unity to show that this, putting one word before another, is the labor of writing.’
An experiment in collectivism summons the feminist and Marxist specters of the term. Collective criticism suggests working collaboratively for the good of the discipline rather than the reputation of the individual; A critique that is non-classist and democratic, with its utopian inclusion of feminist consciousness-raising circles; A critique that is dialogical, open-minded and non-combative. Such criticism contrasts with the traditional image of the public critic as aloof from the human being, raising his pronouncements from high to high at the expense of art. This is anathema to the individualism of the neoliberal university, which calls for a Fordian research output for sustained development; Where collectivity is abandoned for litigation in an intellectual battle royale. It also suggests a project that is more politicized
This is not an exercise in co-writing. Participants reject the ‘we’ model of collaboration, suggesting that shared voice presents structural limitations:
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Collective criticism… is adapted to our individual habits of different styles, thoughts and feelings. The letters invited many forms of expression that were both personal and professional – conversation, anecdote, autobiography, confession – knowing that the slightest hint of the personal could bring contempt and disapproval to the court.
Yet I wonder what is added to our collective understanding of Ferrante’s work by this symbol of self-revelation, which doesn’t really say much about its authors. that they take vacations in the summer. This flu sometimes makes them bedridden. That these scholars, like readers the world over, canny marketers have dubbed ‘Ferrante fever’. that they read themselves for pleasure,
Meets the scientific concept of an experiment, following principles to test a hypothesis. Experimentation does not produce experimental writing, however, especially when compared to the critical work of North American writers who regularly publish outside academic spaces and mainstream newspapers (think Chris Krause, Wayne Kostenbaum, Eileen Miles, Hilton als). These letters may defy the methodological rigor of academic literary criticism, but beyond some correspondence (an addressee, a conversational tone, questions answered or asked), they are largely informed readers of brief textual analysis and introductions. There are close textual analyzes done with career positions. at Yale, Princeton, and Oxford.
It is unfair to ask these scholars to write with bare bodies on their desks.