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The Strait of Messina: for a European cultural network of straits Charybdis and Scylla launch the first opus

Published the 21 July 2014


It is not only their maritime traffic, economic activities and environmental issues that lend individual identity to the straits. The cultural dimensions of these regions, the history in which they are steeped, the myths surrounding them, the literary works and artistic productions they engender are all elements to be considered in forging the "straits identity" that the European Straits Initiative is seeking to develop. The "European Straits, open of spirit" project embraces this cultural and artistic dimension of the straits, starting with the Strait of Messina.

Launched in 2012 by Doctor of Literature and performing arts researcher Stéphane Resche, the declared objective of the "European Straits, open of spirit" project is to create links between the societal, literary and artistic aspects of the straits of Europe.

An initial publication, dedicated to the Strait of Messina, will see the light of day in the autumn of 2014: Entre Charybde et Scylla – Arts, mythes et société au pays des monstres oubliés (Between Charybdis and Scylla - Arts, myths and society in the land of the forgotten monsters) is a collective bilingual (French-Italian) compilation of studies, articles and interviews focusing on the Strait of Messina. The authors of the twenty-five works are researchers, artists, writers and journalists. The contributions are divided into three sections:

  • History & Society: several essays examining in particular the various episodes of the never-materialised plan to construct a bridge between Calabria and Sicily;
  • Mythical figures, places and representations: Here, the two Homeric monsters, Scylla and Charybdis, rub shoulders with the founding giants of the region's important cities and the most illustrious Italian authors who have been instrumental in creating an imaginary realm with the Strait as its backdrop;
  • Art and Creativity: a panorama of the burgeoning creativity relating to the shores of Reggio and Messina, in the fields of contemporary literature, filmmaking, music, choreography and, above all, theatre; this precedes a presentation of activities in the making and of development, cooperation and innovation projects.

This initial opus constitutes the first steps in a promising, Europe-wide human and publishing adventure which also proposes the creation of a website commensurate with its scope, and the constitution of an anthology of straits-based works of drama, in collaboration of the Maison d'Europe et d'Orient – Centre Culturel Européen in Paris and the Centro per la Drammaturgia Siciliana.

The project initiator is even now looking ahead to the international extension of the project, through work residencies and the development of partnerships and funding sources. Do feel free to contact him for any assistance in realising this project!


© Cinzia Muscolino


Stéphane Resche:


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