Female Freedom and The Neapolitan Novels

Hypatia 36 (4):676-701 (2021)
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This essay begins to develop a philosophical interpretation of Elena Ferrante's L'amica geniale, a work of fiction that is known in English as The Neapolitan Novels. My ultimate aim is to explore the work's ambitious moral psychology, and particularly its subtle conceptualization of women's path to freedom. I begin by reconstructing some of the main ideas of Italian difference feminism as they are expressed in the texts of the Milan Women's Bookstore Collective—texts that are controversial milestones of Italian social theory, yet are relatively unknown outside of Italy. I then show how these ideas provide a useful frame of reference for interpreters of Ferrante's novel. This discussion sets up a more extended analysis of the special status of Lila Cerullo, her strange condition of smarginatura, and the import of her puzzling earthquake speech.



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Sam Shpall
University of Sydney

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Imagining oneself otherwise.Catriona Mackenzie - 2000 - In Catriona Mackenzie & Natalie Stoljar (eds.), Relational Autonomy: Feminist Perspectives on Autonomy, Agency, and the Social Self. New York: Oxford University Press.
Essence, Identity, and the Concept of Woman.Natalie Stoljar - 1995 - Philosophical Topics 23 (2):261-293.
Essentialism and anti-essentialism in feminist philosophy.Alison Stone - 2004 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 1 (2):135-153.

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