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Unclaimed Stories: Narrating Sexual Violence and the Traumatized Self in Elena Ferrante and Alice Sebold’s Writings

Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin (2021) 'Unclaimed Stories: Narrating Sexual Violence and the Traumatized Self in Elena Ferrante and Alice Sebold’s Writings.', Modern Language Notes, 136 (1). pp. 118-142.

Abstract

My paper proposes a comparative reading that explores the links between sexual/gendered violence, trauma and untold experience in the earlier works of Alice Sebold (Lucky, The Lovely Bones) and in a selection of Elena Ferrante’s texts (L’amore molesto and the Neapolitan Novels). Through the lens of trauma theory, I analyze the two authors’ textual and ekphrastic negotiations of the traumatized subject, arguing that the experience of sexual abuse lies at the origin of their complex conceptualizations of femininity as well as often acting as a catalyst of aesthetic expression. Moreover, by showing how Sebold and Ferrante employ elements of magical realism to explore and articulate precisely those silenced spaces and gaps of experience, I argue that their works provide powerful examples of how female-authored texts resist master narratives.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1353/mln.2021.0007
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:11 November 2021
Date of first online publication:04 June 2021
Date first made open access:11 November 2021

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