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On Italian Bridges: Navigating Rocks and Hard Places in Post-Wall Europe

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The German Wall

Part of the book series: Studies in European Culture and History ((SECH))

Abstract

In a 1999 interview, Francesco Renda made the following provocative statement:

I would like to preface my comments starting with a fundamental consideration: that is, that the geopolitical position of Sicily has changed This geopolitical change coincides with the end of the second millennium, the last years of which have seen two fundamental events. The first is the fall of the Berlin Wall. The second is the birth of the European Union. Taken together, these two events have given rise to a new general condition for the Mediterranean and for the nations and peoples that look out into it.1

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Notes

  1. Francesco Renda, Sicilia e il Mediterraneo La nuova geopolitica (Palermo: Sellerio, 2000), 11. Unless otherwise indicated, all translations from the Italian are by the author.

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  2. Ferdinand Braudel, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, trans. Siân Reynolds (New York: Harper & Row, 1976), 164.

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  3. And Franco Cassano, Paeninsula. L’Italia da ritrovare (Bari-Roma: Edizioni laterza, 1998), Chap. 1, “Paeninsula: geofilosofia dell’Italia.”

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  4. Homer, Odyssey, trans. Robert Fagles (New York: Viking, 1996), 12.127 and 307–21.

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  5. According to Pliny the Elder, the Roman Consul Metellus built a temporary bridge across the Straits to more easily transport the war elephants captured in 251 B.C. from Carthage for display in Rome; according to Polybius, Hannibal used the same route to bring troops and animals into Italy. See Pliny the Elder, Natural History, trans. H. Rackham (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1938–63)

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  6. And Polybius, Histories (New York: Putnam and Sons, 1922–27).

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  7. Francesco Merlo, “Le rissose comari del centrosinistra,” La Repubblica. it, May 26, 2006, http://ricerca.repubblica.it/repubblica/archivio/repub-blica/2006/05/26/le-rissose-comari-del-centrosinistra.html (accessed February 26, 2010).

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  8. Roberto Dainotto, Europe (in Theory) (Durham, Duke University Press, 2006), 1–2.

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  9. On Sicily’s place within the unified Italian nation, see John Dickie, Darkest Italy: The Nation and Stereotypes of the Mezzogiorno, 1860–1900 (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999)

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  10. And Jane Schneider, ed., Italy’s Southern Question: Orientalism in One Country (Oxford: Berg, 1998). This latter text, a collection of essays that cover Sicilian identity within Italian political and cultural contexts from Unification to the late 1980s, explores the idea of Sicily as Italy’s eternal and internal Other. The thesis has interesting implications for the historical relationship between Sicily and the mainland but fails to recognize the possibility of other configurations of political and cultural belonging for Sicily, as the “Pensiero meridiano” group has done.

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  11. Leopoldo Franchetti and Sydney Sonnino, La Sicilia nel 1876 (Florence: Tip. di G. Barbéra, 1877). Rpt. as Inchiesta in Sicilia [Investigation in Sicily] (Florence: Vallechi, 1974).

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  12. Nelson Moe, View from Vesuvius: Italian Culture and the Southern Question (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002), 247–48.

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  13. Franco Cassano, Il pensiero meridiano (Bari-Roma: Edizioni laterza, 2005). English translation Southern Thought and Other Essays on the Mediterranean, ed. and trans. Norma Bouchard and Valerio Ferme (New York: Fordham University Press, 2011).

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  14. See Wassily Kandinsky, “And, Some Remarks on Synthetic Art,” in Kandinsky: Complete Writings on Art, ed. and trans. Kenneth Lindsay and Peter Vergo (Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 1994), 708–16,

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  15. And Ulrich Beck, The Reinvention of Politics: Rethinking Modernity in the Global Social Order, trans. Mark Ritter (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 1996), Introduction, 1–10.

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  16. Osvaldo Pieroni, Tra Scilla e Cariddi. II Ponte sullo Stretto di Messina: ambi-ente e società sostenibile nel Mezzogiorno (Caltanissetta: Rubbinetto, 1999).

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  17. Vincenzo Consolo, “II ponte sul canale di Sicilia,” Il Messaggero, 9 August 1998. Rpt. in Di qua dal faro (Milano: Mondadori, 1999), 217–22. In English, “The Bridge over the Channel of Sicily,” trans. Felice Italo Beneduce, in Writing and Reading the Mediterranean, eds. Massimo Lollini and Norma Bouchard (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007), 241–45.

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  18. Following the unification of Italy in 1871, factors such as high unemployment and the lack of a promised land reform led millions of Italians mostly from the South to emigrate to other parts of Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Americas. See Jerre Mangione and Ben Monreale, La Storia: Five Centuries of the Italian American Experience (New York: Harper Collins, 1992).

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  19. Vincenzo Consolo, “Vedute dello Stretto di Messina,” in Di qua dal faro (Milano: Mondadori, 1999), 67–91. In English, “Views of the Strait of Messina,” trans. Mark Chu, in Writing and Reading the Mediterranean, eds. Massimo Lollini and Norma Bouchard (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007), 188–209.

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  20. Bartolo Cattafi and Alfredo Camisa, Lo Stretto di Messina e le Eolie (Roma: Automobile Club d’Italia [LEA], 1961), Introduction.

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© 2011 Marc Silberman

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Insana, L. (2011). On Italian Bridges: Navigating Rocks and Hard Places in Post-Wall Europe. In: Silberman, M. (eds) The German Wall. Studies in European Culture and History. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230118577_10

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230118577_10

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, New York

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-349-29431-2

  • Online ISBN: 978-0-230-11857-7

  • eBook Packages: Palgrave History CollectionHistory (R0)

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