Last week the literary world read with slacked jaws Claudio Gatti’s brutish article in the New York Review of Books outing anonymous author Elena Ferrante. All manner of opinions have been voiced on the matter, and now Ann Goldstein, Ferrante’s English translator, has commented.
Goldstein, who is also copy chief at the New Yorker, translated the four Neapolitan novels, Ferrante’s colossally popular books tracing the fraught relationship of two women raised in the same Neapolitan neighborhood. She appeared Sunday at the annual New Yorker Festival and preempted questions regarding the unmasking with her own statement:
“I’ll comment myself first of all, on what I’m sure someone will probably ask about Elena Ferrante. I just want to say that I think that this outing or unmasking of Ferrante was unnecessary, totally unnecessary, and a somewhat vindictive invasion of the author’s privacy. I didn’t and don’t know who she is. My relationship with her has always been with the text and with the creator of that text, that is the voice of the writer of the words, and I don’t expect that to change.
As in the past, when I’ve had questions, I’ve always gone through the publishers, and I’ll continue to do that. In the 25 years since Ferrante published her first book, she has consistently maintained her desire for anonymity and her reasons for it. So now, does anybody have any questions? About other things?