A sharp and lively book for fans and scholars, but it will have limited appeal among general readers.



Four female scholars reflect in “sociable cacophony” on Italian novelist Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet.

When English professors Chihaya, Emre, Hill, and Richards decided to exchange letters about the Neapolitan Quartet, they hoped that “each letter would build on the arguments of previous letters.” They posted their correspondence, which took place during the summer of 2015, on a blog dedicated to their unique experiment in collective critical inquiry. Their primary goal was “the cultivation of a distinct ethical subject: a reader who was deliberately oriented to the ongoing and pleasurable labor of criticism.” This book, which developed as an afterthought, gathers together those correspondences while offering one essay by each professor on different facets of the quartet. In the first section, readers are immediately immersed in a series of short exchanges among the professors that are as literarily engaged as they are engaging. The authors intermingle critical meditations on meaning, structure, and themes like friendship, motherhood, and authorship with observations on their own lives as women, mothers, lovers, and writers. Each author then takes ideas forged within this epistolary crucible and develops them into the essays that make up the second section of the book. Where Chihaya considers the pleasure of “rupture and dissolution” in Ferrante’s work, Hill examines the interplay of the fictive and the real. Richards explores what she calls Ferrante’s “counterfactual imagination” while speculating on the queer subtext of the quartet. Emre concludes the section with consideration of Ferrante’s elusiveness as a literary figure and her choice to remain known only by the words behind which she so often hides. While it is primarily Ferrante devotees who will find this book most intriguing, those interested in alternative modes of critical inquiry should take a look as well.

A sharp and lively book for fans and scholars, but it will have limited appeal among general readers.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-231-19457-0

Page Count: 280

Publisher: Columbia Univ.

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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