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Strait of Messina - A book devoted to culture around the strait

Some months ago we placed on our platform a call for texts for the editorial project devoted to the Strait of Messina, run by Stéphane and Christine Resche.

Today, we are delighted to announce the appearance of issue 8 of the Écritures review: Between Charybdis and Scylla - Art, myths and society in the land of the forgotten monsters / Tra Scilla e Cariddi – Arte, miti e società nel paese dei mostri dimenticati.

Architecture, literature, theatre, myths, history, cinema... all will be involved in a reflection around the shores of the Strait of Messina.

This is the first opus in an editorial series devoted to culture around the straits within the European area.




« Da sempre il mio spirito si è nutrito di questi tramonti, del trascolorare di queste tinte, delle linee dei Peloritani. Questa è patria del mio sogno. »

[My spirit has ever been nourished by these sunsets, the shifting hues, the lines of the Peloritani. This is the homeland of which I dream.]

Antonino Caserta, La Casa sul Mare, Reggio Calabria, Città del sole, 2011.


The Strait of Messina is a territory in southern Italy that is immersed in myth, belief and tradition, which appears even today to suffer from numerous negative prejudices and constant oversight, not always in spite of itself: here, where the Tyrrhenian and Ionian seas embrace, where the waters are reputed to shelter age-old monsters, where the mountains take pleasure from watching the trembling of the earth at their feet under the far-off gaze of their cousins, the volcanoes... here men live still and strive to transmit a culture that is ever-evolving yet drives a reality that is both harsh and domestic in nature.

Lyricism apart, we have wanted to give a voice to a cohesive region, a region that can be precisely delimited by its history, linguistic realities (there are strong similarities between Southern Calabrian and the Sicilian dialects of the territory of Messina and the Aeolian Islands) and economic dynamics. A crossing point, a point of connection, a thousand-year-old area of exchange, accommodations and abandonments, the territory that encompasses the south of Calabria and the east of Sicily, dominated by that pair of eternal rivals, Reggio and Messina, has been emerging from the shadows for some years now by dint of its cultural strength. Long left behind - as is still the case today - by the attraction of western Sicily and picture postcard Naples, powerful and raucous in their international echoes and with the emerging Puglia a recent runner-up, and lying as it does in the heart of the Mediterranean, this area deserves reconsideration. All the more so because its artistic production, including all manner of initiatives conducted to great fanfare by local groups and companies, is starting to be appreciated outside the strictly southern Italian borders.

And so was born Between Charybdis and Scylla - Art, myths and society in the land of the forgotten monsters / Tra Scilla e Cariddi – Arte, miti e società nel paese dei mostri dimenticati :a collective bi-lingual (French/Italian) book devoted not only to literary, theatrical and musical creation, but also to activities currently in progress and to development, cooperation and innovation projects undertaken, accomplished or abandoned in this region - which we propose to restrict to the geographical area constituted by Cefalù, Catania and Catanzaro, to the exclusion of the three urban centres which have their own highly distinctive realities. This compendium makes possible a contemporary portrait of the culture and society of the world of the forgotten Homeric monsters, Scylla the Phorcyde and Charybdis the Thirsty.

Our work is intended to subscribe to the scientific line of the proceedings of the twenty-sixth International Conference on Magna Graecia, published almost thirty years ago. Since Lo stretto crocevia di culture (atti del ventiseiesimo convegno di studi sulla Magna Grecia, Taranto-Reggio Calabria, 9-14 ottobre 1986), (Taranto, Istituto per la storia e l'archeologia della Magna Grecia, 1987, 796 p.), the seminal work for the study of this region from an archaeological, artistic and historical point of view in particular, too few unitary and polychrome compendiums have focused on the area that unites us around this volume. Apart from the historical essays and documentaries devoted to the Calabria-Messina earthquake that devastated the region in 1908, and sparse studies on literature, art and mythology, we have been unable to trace any modern and multi-disciplinary visions focusing on these places, these regions, these cultures that are so distinctive yet so difficult to comprehend.

Our compendium of studies is also the first issue of what we could - and indeed do - call La revue des détroits, the Straits Review. In fact, our hope is that this first opus, Between Charybdis and Scylla, will prompt other manifestations; that other top-tier scientific reviews based in European Universities will embark, as Écritures has done, on the constitution of a new compendium dedicated to other spaces that look over Europe's straits.  In a few months' time, we may therefore see the appearance of the second issue of La revue des détroits, focusing this time on the shores of Gibraltar, or the approaches to Calais [Dover Strait], or even on the territories of the Bosporus, the Oresund or the Strait of Otranto.


If you are a researcher, artist, journalist, project leader or wish to contact the directors of the issue (about this issue or a future issue devoted to a different European strait):


For more information on this issue, to read the summary, to find out about the contributors or to order the publication: click here!


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