Sesso, mediasfera e short fiction ai tempi del #MeToo

“Cat Person” di Kristen Roupenian




American literature, Roupenian, short story, Cat Person, sex


Published in the New Yorker in December 2017 at the height of the #MeToo movement, Kristen Roupenian’s “Cat Person” rapidly went viral, becoming the most-read and most-shared piece of short fiction in the magazine’s history.  A story about sex, modern dating, and the complexities of consent, “Cat Person” focuses on the short relationship—culminating in a bad date—between a 20-year-old college student named Margot and a 34-year-old man named Robert. Drawing both on Régis Debray’s notion of ‘mediasphere’ and on Jay David Bolter’s concept of ‘digital plenitude,’ in the first part of the essay I discuss the creation, dissemination, and reception of Roupenian’s short story in the context of the contemporary media landscape. The second part of the essay pursues a dual purpose: it focuses on a specific formal feature of the text (Roupenian’s strategic decision to use the “close third person” point of view to describe Margot’s thought processes), and it reflects on how this narrative strategy is used by the author to complicate the notion of female sexual consent.

Author Biography

Manlio Della Marca, Eva Hesse Archive of Modernism and Literary Translation (LMU Munich)

Manlio Della Marca ( è un americanista e studioso dei rapporti fra letteratura e nuovi media. Dal 2016 al 2022 è stato Assistant Professor presso l’Amerika-Institut della Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität di Monaco, dove continua ad essere co-curatore dell’Eva Hesse Archive of Modernism and Literary Translation. Attualmente lavora al manoscritto di un libro intitolato Homo Legens: Modes and Moods of Reading from the Puritans to Twitter.


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