Reflections on the 'trans' in Jhumpa Lahiri's In Other Words (In altre parole)

Margaret-Anne Hutton*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Jhumpa Lahiri’s translingual text In Other Words (In altre parole, 2015) functions in the article both as a test case to explore disciplinary boundaries and as a case study to examine the ‘trans’ prefix. Firstly, can the infrastructure of Italian Studies accommodate non-Italianist writers and researchers? What sort of conversations might a Transnational Italian Studies scholar have with a comparatist? Secondly, to what extent does Lahiri’s text merit the prefix ‘trans’, especially if we adopt Jessica Berman’s view of the ‘trans’ prefix as disruptive of the normative? An analysis of In Other Words focusing on four trans-prefixed terms – transnational, transgender, transvestite, and translation – reveals a tension between essentialised concepts of national belonging, gender, and language and more performative instances of the same.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalItalian Studies
VolumeLatest Articles
Early online date2 Nov 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Nov 2023


  • Lahiri
  • In Other Words
  • Trans-mother tongue
  • Jessica Berman


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