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Spatiality in Esilio by Enzo Bettiza. The ambiguity of the multicultural and multilingual heritage of Dalmatia

Maciej Czerwiński

Pages 137 - 162


The aim of this article is to deal with the Dalmatian writer Enzo Bettiza and his vision of his native land. I will attempt to analyse Bettiza’s reinvention of Dalmatia and his concept of la nazione dalmata, referring to the most prominent representations of the Croatian and Italian cultures in the past and nowadays. However, to limit the analysis to the problem of the affirmation of the complex multicultural past and composite identities that characterized him and the whole community of Split, as well as his struggle against monolithic nationalist agendas, the focus will be on the ambiguities his vision triggers. To be able to understand Bettiza’s position, it is necessary to confront his representation of Dalmatia with other existing representations as well as with the reception of his work. The aim is to investigate Bettiza’s spatial/topographical constructions that generate cultural meanings, as it is the concept of space that triggers disputability. By surveying the Croatian responses to his book, I will then detect how this representation brings about conflicting stances and reproduces mutual (cultural) stereotypes. It will become clear that Bettiza’s sensitivity to topography and geography relates to the politically contested concepts linked to his native Split (and Dalmatia).


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