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Elena Ferrante, Lionel Shriver, and the Artist’s Right to Cultural Appropriation

When the novelist Lionel Shriver delivered her now-notorious speech about cultural appropriation at the Brisbane Writer’s Festival last month, it wasn’t clear whether she was wrestling with a real intellectual menace or a straw man. Censorious identity politics, she argued, are potentially suffocating to literary inspiration, since authors fear that creating characters from marginalized backgrounds will invite charges of cultural pillaging.
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