A Different Shade of Pink: Literary Thresholds and Cultural Intersections in Italian Chick Lit
This thesis investigates the Italian production of chick lit, a particular segment of contemporary women’s popular fiction developed in the mid 1990s in Anglophone countries. A worldwide phenomenon born out of Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary (1996) and the HBO TV show Sex and the City (1998), chick lit novels portray the professional, emotional and sentimental anxieties of white, middle-class, heterosexual and financially independent women in a witty and humorous tone. The arrival of chick lit and its successful translation into Italian in the late 1990s has prompted many local writers to engage with the genre, but the growing body of chick lit written in Italian and its place in the cultural and literary landscape have yet to be assessed. This thesis explores recurring themes, narrative strategies and stylistic features deployed in Italian chick lit novels not only against their Anglo-American models, but also in relation to Western popular media culture and the Italian tradition of romanzo rosa, its cultures and practices as well as its legacy. It shows the presence of distinct intertextual patterns in dealing with key generic features, such as the identification with the female protagonist and her journey toward self-empowerment, the relationship with consumerism and popular media culture, and the humorous style. This thesis also assesses the nature of chick lit as both a literary genre and a sociocultural phenomenon across countries and languages through theoretical perspectives of cultural studies and feminist theories on women’s popular culture and Western popular postfeminism.