Emanuele Broccio

Panel 6D: Adaptation and/as Transcodification/3
Session 6 – July 3, 15:30 – 17:30

My Brilliant Friend: from the Novel to the TV Show, a Process of Mainstreaming

This contribution offers a comparative analysis between the novel by Elena Ferrante My Brilliant Friend (2011)and the first season of its TV adaptation (Saverio Costanzo: 2018) that goes by the same name.The first part of the study will highlight the elements of the screen adaptation that took the distance from what is described on the original test. The analysis will show, for example, how the city of Naples in the 1950s and the representation of the Camorra of the series are profoundly influenced by the mainstream images of other highly successful Italian and international dramas. This approach can be regarded as an easy way to reach a wider audience. As a result, the visual product ends up showing more affinities with the world of TV shows than with its literary counterpart.

The second part will analyse how the reduction of the feminist component made by the series is one of the other factors that have ensured the favour of the Italian critique, unlike the novel, that has been easily criticized by Italian male critics. The analysis thus conducted will therefore demonstrate how the transcoding process has significantly flattened the bolder and more subversive features of the literary text, depleting it of valid contents for the sake of the general taste, which is a product of the cultural climate in which the show was produced and aired.


Emanuele Broccio is a researcher with a specific interest in Italian Contemporary Literature, Comparative Literature and Cinema, currently teaching at the University of France. He is author of two monographs: Tra amore e Resistenza. La drammaturgia di Beppe Fenoglio (Il Mulino, 2017) and Dal corpo assediato alle macerie della memoria. La poesia di Jolanda Insana (Carabba, 2018). Broccio has worked with some well-known journals, such as “Narrativa” and “Chroniques Italiennes”, publishing several essays. He is an associate member of the research center for Italian studies CRIX (Centre de Recherches Italiennes) at the University of Paris Nanterre. In March 2017 he obtained the French national scientific qualification of Italian Studies at the level of Associate Professor (Maître de conference).