Surviving melancholy and mourning: a queer politics of damage in Italian literary representations of same-sex parenting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Colleges, School and Institutes


While family forms are ever more diverse, there are few critical analyses of the ways in which LGBTQ families have been represented in fiction. This article explores recent Italian novels by Cristiana Alicata, Melania Mazzucco and Chiara Francini that depict lesbian and gay parents and their children. In all these novels at least one gay or lesbian parent dies. Drawing on Judith Butler’s work on mourning and melancholia, I problematize the persistent spectre of grief and loss attached to gay and lesbian parenting. However, reflections by Heather Love also prompt me to explore what Love calls a “politics of damage”, or an attempt to see past the looming threat of inevitable homosexual doom towards the queer, subversive elements of these narratives, which question normative conceptions of the family and open up space to reflect on ‘alternative’ parental models.

Bibliographic note

Not yet published as of 18/02/2021.


Original languageEnglish
JournalPhenomenology and Mind
Issue number19
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 3 Sep 2020


  • queer politics of damage, Italy, same-sex parenting