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Elena Ferrante’s unmasking was intrusive but inevitable

It's naive to think that authors can repell their readers' curiosity about them

By Rob Sharp  

Naples Old City Centre, where Elena Ferrante's Naples novels are set

A friend of mine, who will remain fashionably anonymous, remarked yesterday that this week’s Elena Ferrante furore—the Italian novelist, author of the Neapolitan quartet, who has fiercely guarded her true identity was apparently unmasked by the New York Review of Books—was a cousin to the “Streisand effect.” The phenomenon is named after the singer’s 2003 attempt to suppress pictures of her Malibu house, thus drawing even more…

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