Listening to Ferrante’s Women: A Psychoanalytic Engagement with the Neapolitan Novels - Registration Closed

We are delighted to welcome Christine Maksimowicz, Ph.D. in English, and Stacey Novack, Clinical Psychologist and Psychoanalyst, for a special event focused on the work of writer Elena Ferrante, sponsored by the Vermont Association Psychoanalytic Studies Applied Psychoanalysis Committee.


Some of you might notice that the timeframe and number of CEUs for this event has been modified since it appeared in earlier “save the date” forms. Initial conference plans were made pre-pandemic, and based on experiences with an online learning environment over the past year, the schedule was modified to be more favorable in that medium.  



 Through talks that bring Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels into conversation with psychoanalytic and socioanalytic theory, the presenters, one a practicing psychoanalyst and one a literary scholar, will invite participants into a rich discussion of Ferrante's fiction. Participants will actively engage Ferrante's fiction, theoretical material and its clinical implications, together creating a personally rich, intellectually rigorous, multi-layered encounter with the world of Ferrante’s captivating novels and their finely drawn, psychologically complex characters.


About the Presenters

 Christine Maksimowicz, Ph.D. in English, is currently working on a book that moves between memoir, fiction, and theory to explore classed-based injury in her own past, as well as a larger cultural phenomenon that often occurs in working-class families but remains untheorized. Past publications include a class-centered exploration of trauma in the fiction of Alice Munro in the Journal of Literature and Trauma Studies and an examination of recognition failure and its relation to shame in The Works of Elena Ferrante: Reconfiguring the Margins (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). Christine serves as book review editor for Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society. She is also a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies and the American Psychoanalytic Association's Study Group on Teaching Psychoanalytic Writing. Christine has been an American Psychoanalytic Association Fellow and a fellow at the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalytic Studies. Past awards include the CORST Essay Prize in Psychoanalysis & Culture by the American Psychoanalytic Association and the Boston Psychoanalytic Society & Institute's Julius Silberger Award. Christine presently divides her time between facilitating writing groups for clinicians and creative writers, one-on-one work with writers, and training as an analytic candidate at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies (NIP).


Stacey Novack, Psy.D is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice in Northampton, MA. Stacey is a graduate, supervisor, and faculty member of the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis, where she teaches courses on object relations theory, the psychoanalysis of intense affective experience, and dreams. Stacey has written and published psychoanalytic essays on the subjects of grief, politics and culture, and creativity. Her most recent paper (in press) explores the work of the psychoanalyst Marion Milner and a brings a relational psychoanalytic perspective to the problem of creative blocks.


Learning Objectives

  1. Describe the history of psychoanalytic theorizing of identification beginning with Freud and through contemporary object relations theory


2. Articulate an understanding of the themes of identification, internalization, and influence as they appear in Ferrante's Neapolitan novels


3. Use psychoanalytic and Ferrantean ideas of influence and identification to understand patients' difficulties with self formation and creativity


4. Articulate an expanded understanding of destruction, as explored in Elkins' rereading of Winnicott's enigmatic text, "The Use of an Object"


5. Employ the Neapolitan Novels to describe a form of relational breakdown that often occurs in working-class families


6. Identify ways in which imaginative forms of self-narration, as illustrated in the Neapolitan Novels, may be used recuperatively

Continuing Education

 This event will be open to participants with a variety of professional backgrounds. It is anticipated that 4 CEUs will be available for eligible participants (Psychologists, Social Workers, and Allied Mental Health Professionals). 

Registration Fees

                                 Before February 18                After February 18


VAPS Member           $90.00                        $100.00

Non-member             $100.00                      $110.00

Student                      Free                            Free


Note: Registration closes on March 4th.  

For questions, additional details about the conference presentation, and the full schedule of the day, please contact Elizabeth Goldstein, Chair, Vermont Association for Psychoanalytic Studies Applied Psychoanalysis Committee, at A Zoom link will be sent by email after registration.

Participants are not required to do any reading prior to attending this event. There is no expectation that participants will have read Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet (My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child). Those who register for the event will receive a link to access several suggested readings, including a chapter Dr. Maksimowicz has authored from the book The Works of Elena Ferrante: Reconfiguring the Margins (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).