Elena Ferrante’s The Lost Daughter in Print and on Screen

Literature | Cinema

Course Description

I do believe there is such a thing as women’s writing or women’s filmmaking. […] When I am let loose, given a little bit of money and space to tell the story I want to tell, it’s about motherhood. It is about the domestic, and it does include a lot of scenes in the kitchen. Can stories about the domestic really be seen as high art?—Maggie Gyllenhaal about her film The Lost Daughter

What do the terms “women’s writing” and “women’s filmmaking” have to offer in the 21st century? This six-week course will consider these questions through a study of Elena Ferrante’s The Lost Daughter and Maggie Gyllenhaal’s film adaptation of Ferrante’s novel. Best known as the author of the celebrated Neapolitan Quartet, Ferrante has been heralded for her frank depictions of female friendship and sexuality and unsettling explorations of motherhood. Similarly, Gyllenhaal’s adaptation, while it departs significantly from the source material, has likewise been championed as a pioneering work.

Through a close study of the novel and film, we will discuss topics such as The Lost Daughter’s complex portrayal of motherhood, its debt to the horror and thriller genres, and the cinematic techniques that Gyllenhaal uses to adapt the novel’s internal monologue to a primarily visual medium. Is the focus on the inner lives of women and their relationships with each other typical of Ferrante’s fiction something that is still largely lacking in contemporary film? Why are stories about women who express ambivalence about their roles as mothers still so difficult to tell in literature and film? We will also be reading works by Virginia Woolf, Rachel Cusk, and others to examine the roles of women in literature and media.

Books to Purchase (will be available at Argo Bookshop during the weeks prior to the course beginning):

    • The Lost Daughter, Elena Ferrante

Please note that this course has a maximum enrollment of 14 students.

NEW PAYMENT POLICY: Participants must pay the course fees in order to be considered registered for the course. 

For fully registered courses, a waiting list will be created. Should vacancies develop, those on the waiting list will be contacted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please note that we do not allow participants to audit courses for free.

Course Details

Location: Zoom

First Session: Monday 16 January 2023

Course Length: 6 weeks, Mondays, 6:15 to 8:15 p.m.

Discussion Team: Charlotte Boatner-Doane, Greg Peace

Degree Credit: 1.5 credits

Course Fee: 

$120.00 (standard tuition)

$80.00 (promotion for new students)

Administrative Fee:



$145.00 (standard tuition)

$105.00 (promotion for new students)


For 6-week courses, fees are refundable in full before the first session. If the participant withdraws in Week 1 of the course, they will be charged a $50 fee. Please note that non-attendance does not constitute a withdrawal.

Students pursuing studies for credit are encouraged to consult with their advisers as they register for courses.

Course leaders, and students wishing to use credit vouchers, should call (514) 935-9585 to pay by phone or to schedule an appointment to pay in person.

Fill the following form to register

Questions? Stuck? Give us a call at (514) 935-9585
or email us at info@thomasmore.qc.ca