Here are some of the ways the Italian novelist who published under the name Elena Ferrante has explained her desire to remain anonymous:
The wish to remove oneself from all forms of social pressure or obligation. Not to feel tied down to what could become one’s public image. To concentrate exclusively and with complete freedom on writing and its strategies.” –The Guardian
I’m still very interested in testifying against the self-promotion obsessively imposed by the media. This demand for self-promotion diminishes the actual work of art, whatever that art may be, and it has become universal ... The individual person is, of course, necessary, but I’m not talking about the individual—I’m talking about a manufactured image. –The Paris Review
I simply decided, once and for all, over 20 years ago, to liberate myself from the anxiety of notoriety and the urge to be a part of that circle of successful people, those who believe they have won who-knows-what. This was an important step for me. Today I feel, thanks to this decision, that I have gained a space of my own, a space that is free, where I feel active and present. To relinquish it would be very painful. –Vanity Fair
Relinquish it, now, she has: Not by her own volition, but because an investigative reporter tracked down Ferrante’s non-fictional identity, thus solving “one of modern literature’s most enduring mysteries.”
There are many, many questions you could ask about the author’s unwanted unmasking. Was it journalistically responsible—of the New York Review of Books, which published the exposé, and of the reporter Claudio Gatti, who wrote it—to reveal Ferrante’s true (legal, personal, nominal) identity? Is there sexism at play in the way the author’s expressed wishes were regarded—which is also to say, ignored? Is it relevant that the IRL Ferrante is the daughter of a Holocaust refugee?