Elena Ferrante has a new book! Be sure to get a notebook before reading it

Maureen Corrigan in The Washington Post:

Elena Ferrante is, as all the world knows by now, the pseudonym for the elusive author of, among other books, “The Lost Daughter,” which was recently made into a film directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal, and the four extraordinary “Neapolitan novels,” the first of which — “My Brilliant Friend” — is now an HBO series. Ferrante champions the view that, as she said in a 2015 interview with the Paris Review, the “author” is merely a “manufactured image” of a “writer-hero”: “There is no work of literature that is not the fruit of tradition, of many skills, of a sort of collective intelligence. We wrongfully diminish this collective intelligence when we insist on there being a single protagonist ­behind every work of art.”

Her new book, “In the Margins,” is a slim collection of four public lectures on writing and literature that were presented in Italy last year — three at the University of Bologna and one at a conference of Dante scholars. Note my use of the passive voice: “were presented.” Ferrante did not deliver them in person — of course. Instead, they were given voice by an actress playing Ferrante and by a Dante scholar. This contrivance surely served only to highlight the absence of Ferrante herself, thus keeping the audience’s attention fixed on the figure of the missing “writer-hero” she disdains. (The author photo for “In the Margins” is a postcard-perfect image of Naples.)

More here.