This article analyzes a bundle of tensions tied to the (self-)representations of the larger Mediterranean subnational islands: island-specific identities are often used in aspiring to political independence and in moving toward linguistic unification, even when they run counter to historically evolved complexity and contemporary cultural heterogeneity. Taking Sardinia as an example, this article questions the construction of sardità along two main axes: language policy and literary production. The authors begin by noting that Sardinian often serves as an umbrella term for several local linguistic varieties whose attribution to that language is in part contested. The authors next assert that the self-conception of the islanders, as reflected in Sardinian literature, is also partly stamped by outside perspectives. Focusing on the case of Sardinia, but with comparative outlooks on Corsica and Sicily, this article shows that the tensions between homogenization trends and cultural-linguistic complexity undermine and at the same time found claims of island exceptionalism.

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