The reading world woke up today to a shocking revelation: After extensive research, an Italian journalist by the name of Claudio Gatti apparently unearthed the true person behind the Elena Ferrante pseudonym.
Ferrante has treasured her anonymity from the beginning of her writing career. She once wrote to her publisher that “Books, once they are written, have no need for their authors.” Since then, she has only done authorized interviews, keeping a tight reign on her public persona.
Unfortunately, Elena may no longer have such freedom, as Claudio Gatti allegedly just revealed her to be Anita Raja: a translator based in Rome. You can read the full piece by Claudio here.
Anita Raja, Image courtesy of nybooks.com
What’s been most surprising about the story is the apparent loyalty of devoted fans, and casual readers of her work. It’s as if the internet unanimously chose art and integrity over exposition and gossip. One scathing editorial by Huffington Post writer, Krithika Varagur, argued that Gatti’s feelings of ownership over Ferrante’s anonymity and identity were a natural manifestation of rape culture, calling Gatti a ‘coward’.
Ferrante’s publisher, Sandro Ferri, has demanded we “Stop the siege of Elena Ferrante”, arguing that she is “not a criminal”.
Those in favor of Ferrante’s unmasking have claimed that the revelation is just because Ferrante’s novels assume an understanding of a Neapolitan upbringing that the actual author might not have had, and that Ferrante had certainly implied she had this personal experience in interviews.
Some see this as a simple misreading of the social contract between author and reader, where it is understood that the writer must lie in order to get to the truth.
Regardless of the verdict, it is inspiring to bear witness to such a swift condemnation of Gatti’s admittedly unscrupulous journalism. According to Amazon and The Washington Post, book sales have only gone up since the revelation of Ferrante’s ‘true’ identity.
What are your thoughts on the revelation? Drop a comment to let us know!
Featured image courtesy of Jezebel.