Elena Ferrante's Naples with Danielle Oteri

Elena Ferrante's Naples with Danielle Oteri


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Elena Ferrante (a pseudonymous Italian novelist) has taken the literary world by storm in more recent years, exposing stories of the female experience in postwar Italy up until today. Her depictions of friendship, violence, love, poverty, and determination have resounded among millions of readers while the vivid settings of her Neopolitan novels have caused a wave of Ferrante pilgrims visiting this characterful city. Join an expert in this field on a virtual visit to Naples inspired by Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Quartet "My Brilliant Friend." Fair warning, there will be book spoilers!

This conversation will use the novels to understand how the various neighborhoods–where the critical scenes are set–help to define the narrative. We'll visit the Rione Luzzati where the books are primarily set, as well as the Piazza dei Martiri, the Retifilo, and the island of Ischia. We’ll learn more about the culture of Naples in the 1950s to better understand the characters and their positions in life. Knowing this Neopolitan history will give readers deeper insight into the protagonists and stories. We’ll also discuss how the Neapolitan language (described as dialect) and the Italian language each evolved and their social implications.

Danielle Oteri is herself the author of Ferrante Fever: A Naples Guidebook Inspired by Elena Ferrante and is a true expert on this subject, along with other aspects of Naples and Southern Italy. This interactive seminar will focus on details from My Brilliant Friend that would be unfamiliar to non-Italian readers. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of how Naples is its own character that shapes the expectations and outcomes for Lila and Lenù.

Danielle Oteri is an expert on Roman, medieval and Renaissance art. She was a Lecturer at the Met Cloisters for fifteen years and has been Program Director of the International Center of Medieval Art since 2008. Danielle has written about art, history, food and travel for Conde Nast Traveler, Gothamist, NPR and Roads & Kingdoms. She is the founder of Feast on History and Arthur Avenue Food Tours.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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