Cultivating complexity: Maltese/Australian women in Lou Drofenik - DOI: 10.4025/actascilangcult.v32i1.5450

Adrian Grima


Most Maltese literature both before and after Independence has depicted women in stereotypical ways as weaklings who live in the shadows of their men or as mothers who are exclusively committed to their families and pass on the values and norms of the patriarchy from one generation to the next. Maltese-Australian novelist Lou Drofenik breaks with this narrative by giving a voice to the many women characters in her novels and explores the complexities of individual persons. She consistently refuses to repeat the commonplaces about womanhood and manhood and problematizes both the dominant sexual dualism itself and the positioning of woman as the privileged figure of otherness. Femininity is seen as constantly in process, and the subjectivity that most discourses seek to fix is open to dispersal. Like the young contemporary Maltese short story writer Clare Azzopardi, Drofenik tries to narrate the constantly evolving nature of becoming-woman, and sometimes becoming-man, and inevitably defies the stereotypes and the dualistic reduction of difference.


literature; Malta; Austrália; Lou Drofenik; Clare Azzopardi; women; emigration; sexual dualism; feminism

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ISSN 1983-4675 (impresso) e 1983-4683 (on-line) e-mail:


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