Sara Spanghero

Sara SpangheroSara Spanghero

Literaturtheorie (Literary Theory)
Englische Literatur (English Literature)
Filmwissenschaft (Film Studies)


Sea Changes: Representations of Fluid Adolescence Through Literature and Cinema

The thematic analysis I carry out in my dissertation focusses on a particular category of texts, both literary and cinematic, which I group together under the definition of fluid anti-developmental narratives. In these texts, the failure of the young protagonists to become mature adults is both symbolised in and determined by their relationship with the aquatic dimension; a relationship that is mostly one of aversion and incompatibility. As far as literature is concerned, I analyse the work of James Joyce (his modernist Bildungsroman A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, along with selected chapters from Ulysses and selected short stories from Dubliners) and of Virginia Woolf (To the Lighthouse). As far as cinema is concerned, I mainly focus on the French New Wave (especially on some of François Truffaut’s films), which developed in the late 1950s.
Even though apparently disconnected in space and time, both literary Modernism and the French nouvelle vague share significant commonalities with regard to the representation of adolescence. The protagonist’s achievement of adulthood is constantly deferred, thereby also refusing/failing to align with an established social norm, which is often epitomised in the (heterosexual) marriage. Starting from this premise, I consider the characters of the works I examine as queer individuals, thereby intending to highlight the natural fluidity of identity that these figures advocate, which is in turn symbolised in the aquatic element. Furthermore, the identity of the transformational nature of adolescence with the intrinsic fluidity of water, is further highlighted in the particular evolution of the style and the use of specific narrative techniques, which in these texts often coincide and which, in turn, underline the fluidity of language too.


seit 04/2016 Mitglied der GSGG Nachwuchsgruppe “Multiple Modernities” (voraussichtlich bis Ende September 2017)

10/2013 – 09/2016 Doktorandin am DFG-Graduiertenkolleg 1599 „Dynamiken von Raum und Geschlecht: entdecken – erobern – erfinden – erzählen“

11/2011 M.A. Englische Philologie an der Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

12/2009 B.A. Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft an der Universitá degli Studi di Trieste


Conference Report: VIII. annual conference of the James Joyce Italian Foundation, in: The James Joyce Literary Supplement 1/29. Spring 2015

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