Monday, October 3, 2016

Author Privacy

An Author & Their Work: 
Elena Ferrante

Just today, I was reading The New Yorker magazine and I came across an article speaking about the anonymity and the rights that authors have within their works and in relation to their lives. This author is notoriously shrouded in anonymity, they have not released their name or a photograph of even for the back jacked of the New York Times best selling series The Neapolitan Novels. This article speaks about the many fans and press agents who have looked for this information in the past and who will continue to do so in the future. To me I find that I am of the same opinion of the columnist who wrote the piece; Ferrante, regardless of who they are has a right to be private and secretive about her life beyond the page.

The columnist who wrote this piece used some evidence that was found through many tactics that I find to be frankly intrusive and unethical! This member of the "paparazzi" for lack of a better word has dug through many countless articles and biographical speculator pieces as well as he himself speculating on who this author is beyond he pages of her books. This member of the media went so far as to speculate about this authors financial struggles as a translator in real life and he targeted her for the fact that she had recently made purchases that her "meager" job as a translator would not allow her to afford. I can understand using different sources to speculate and later pinpoint your target, however I feel like making financial speculation based on how much you think they are making is beyond evil!

Using the media to find out who the author is can be justified if it is for personal curiosity however I think that the reasoning behind this member of the media's motive was a monetary and prestige grab. Because Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Novels have gained so much notoriety, and their creator is still unknown being the first to figure out who the mysterious literary mastermind is could be a game changer for the media mogul's life and that of the author. Digging into the lives of those who wish to be left alone is something that is unforgivable! As a society we have become so accustomed to having all the answers that we could possibly want at the tip of our fingers all the time; however I feel that in this case we should respect the author's wishes and diligence to remain secretive.

Another aside to this overarching frustration with the privacy or lack there of it that we have in this modern day, I feel that we should be able to love a book and appreciate it for its merit and style without any knowledge about its creator. I feel as though if we love a book for the characters and the plot, that knowing who the creator is has no other appeal than to be nosy and intrude upon their life. Some authors may love coming out and interacting with their fans about the work that they have produced, though there are some people who would prefer to be left alone with their "pen" to produce another line. I is the latter people that I think we all need to respect their wishes and cherish the words that they leave behind.

I am one fan who loves an author's work and will try to reach out on social media and let them know how much I loved it, however if they decline to respond it is their prerogative. I do not wish to force anyone to reveal who they are even if their works have been published in a multitude of languages and are known around the globe. The choose when to be discovered!


  • Do you all agree with my point of view or that of the Italian Journalist who "Outed" Ferrante?
  • Have you ever written something, though it may be very well crafted and not wished to receive credit for?
  • When reading a book, do you think that knowing how an author looks or where they are from influences your reading? 
    • I certainly do!  I think that if we know how an author looks we will judge their writing ability instantly and make many other subconscious judgements that may hinder our enjoyment of their books.
The article in reference: The "Unmasking" of Elena Ferrante
Happy Reading!



If you have not yet had the pleasure to read the wonderful and rich Neapolitan Novels by: Elena Ferrante, I would highly recommend that you all go out and pick them up right now!

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