Grieving on the Edge: Helen Macdonald’s <em>H is for Hawk</em>

  • Giulio Milone University of Pisa
Keywords: Life Writing, Helen Macdonald, Grief and Trauma, T.H. White, Animals.


This article takes a close look at Helen Macdonald’s memoir H is for Hawk, in which the author chronicles her year spent training a female goshawk as a way of coping with her father’s sudden death. Drawing on some key elements of trauma and grief theory, the article argues that Macdonald’s book explores and masterfully renders an experience of undoing as a consequence of traumatic grief, which causes the collapse of any fixed border, category or sense of identity. From these premises, evidence of this constant walking on a series of lignes de partage can be variously found in Macdonald’s text, from her approach to generic conventions to her critical discussion of authoritative texts on both falconry and grief and, most importantly, in her confrontation with a wild animal.

How to Cite
Milone, G. (2021). Grieving on the Edge: Helen Macdonald’s <em>H is for Hawk</em&gt;. Synergies: A Journal of English Literatures and Cultures, 1, 77-95. Retrieved from
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