Life and Death Along Waterways


  • Ilaria Magnani Università di Cassino e del Lazio Meridionale


Sea, Migrations, Argentinian Literature, Italian Literature


The recent increase of newspaper coverage on the migration waves towards Italy (a long-lasting phenomenon which has been at the fore of public attention for years now) and the tragic shipwrecks they often result in urge us to direct our attention to the important role played by water in migratory movements, both in the present and in the past, when the flows were mainly towards the Americas. Since it seems equally interesting to examine how water has shaped the literary imagination of migrants and compare the different representations of migratory transits through waterways, this essay analyzes four contemporary narratives to juxtapose two different, albeit traditional, migratory routes, namely, the ocean crossing that led immigrants from Europe to Argentina at the time of the great migratory waves of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century and the present-day navigations across the Mediterranean from North Africa to Europe. The focus of attention is on the works of two Argentinian writers – El mar que nos trajo (2001) by Griselda Gambaro and Stefano (1997) by Maria Teresa Andruetto – and on those of two Italian writers – Margaret Mazzantini’s Mare al mattino (2011) and Domenico Manzione’s In fuga (2015). The theoretical framework adopted for the analysis of the representation of water in a migratory context includes Bachelard’s poetics of rêverie and Durand’s theorizations on water and the poetic imagination.


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Gambaro, G. (2001): El mar que nos trajo. Buenos Aires: Norma.

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Manzione, D. (2015): In fuga. Lucca: Maria Pacini Fazzi.

Mazzantini, M. (2011): Mare al mattino. Torino: Einaudi.



How to Cite

Magnani, I. (2024). Life and Death Along Waterways . Oltreoceano - Rivista Sulle Migrazioni, (22), 187–196. Retrieved from



Hispanophone Literatures and America