From the European South

a transdisciplinary journal of postcolonial humanities

The pursuit of lightness: Jhumpa Lahiri’s Italophone writing

Grazia Micheli


In this paper, I redress the gap in the reception of Jhumpa Lahiri’s Italophone writing by studying it within an American and Asian American critical framework. I highlight how her Italian-language work contributes to a transnational and translingual understanding of American and Asian American literatures and to their inclusion in the domain of world literature. Through an analysis of In altre parole (2015), I explore some of the reasons behind Lahiri’s choice to write in Italian. In particular, I discuss how her sense of imperfection and failure toward literary expectations in the Anglophone context as well as her aspiration to free herself from the weight of a definite (ethnic) identity – which I call ‘the pursuit of lightness’ – have played a fundamental role in her choice to distance herself from English.


Jhumpa Lahiri, In altre parole, Asian American literature, world literature, lightness



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