Malta. Land of Sea | 2017 | Editor: Sandro Debono
p. 224 | ISBN No: 9789993276005
My chapter in this book is about “Re-Imagining Maltese Space.” This study is about how some of the protagonists of Maltese Romantic and Modernist literature deal with the sea. Very often literature depicts the Maltese as being in awe of the sea, as being afraid of it, and unconnected with it. Two works that are notable exceptions to this rule are the adventure novel Lejn ix-Xemx (Towards the sun) by Ġużè Bonnici and the intense bilingual poetry of Daniel Massa in his collections Xibkatuliss (1989) and Barefoot in the Saltpans (2015). These works propose a different understanding of the relationship of the Maltese Islands with the sea that surrounds them, two radically different conceptions of the cultural and physical boundaries of Malta and the place of the protagonists within this reconstructed space.
Malta is a Mediterranean territory of land and sea. Its history is inspired by the ways and means how the two connect and merge, overlap and retreat. Dominant civilisations have engaged with this unique cultural landscape over time. All have contributed threads to its cultural weave; many lost, some forgotten, and others highlighted. Indeed, rather than being a frontier, Malta stands as, betwixt and between, within a region of land and sea which connects beyond frontiers and borders.
This book questions the traditional dialectic between land and sea, oftentimes understood as two elements meeting at a frontier shoreline. Land and sea have been understood as separate albeit connected spaces of unities, diversities, or both. The elements which connect the two are broad and varied, and can also be read and construed as one. Indeed, Malta’s cultural landscape can be read and understood as a space of land and sea with common origins, history, and heritage.
Both concept and methodology have been purposely developed for BOZAR and presented for the first time on the occasion of the 2017 Maltese Presidency of the European Union.