The way (not) to say it. Patrick Dennis, Auntie Mame and the queer tradition

by Valeria Gennero

In the mid-fifties Patrick Dennis published his Auntie Mame in the United States with enormous success, and it was immediately translated into Italian by Orsola Nemi and Henry Furst (La zia Mame, Bompiani 1956). The book later also became a best seller in Italy with the new translation by Matteo Codignola (Zia Mame, Adelphi 2009). This article analyses both versions of the book focussing on the importance of the references in the text to the codes of homosexual culture in the United States, and underlining how Auntie Mame presented a positive view of the queer community in open contrast with the widespread homophobia in American society during the Cold War years.