The Warm South: How the Mediterranean Shaped the British Imagination

The Warm South: How the Mediterranean Shaped the British Imagination

by Robert Holland


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An evocative exploration of the impact of the Mediterranean on British culture, ranging from the mid-eighteenth century to today

Ever since the age of the Grand Tour in the eighteenth century, the Mediterranean has had a significant pull for Britons—including many painters and poets—who sought from it the inspiration, beauty, and fulfillment that evaded them at home. Referred to as “Magick Land” by one traveler, dreams about the Mediterranean, and responses to it, went on to shape the culture of a nation.
Written by one of the world’s leading historians of the Mediterranean, this book charts how a new sensibility arose from British engagement with the Mediterranean, ancient and modern. Ranging from Byron’s poetry to Damien Hirst’s installations, Robert Holland shows that while idealized visions and aspirations often met with disillusionment and frustration, the Mediterranean also offered a notably insular society the chance to enrich itself through an imagined world of color, carnival, and sensual self-discovery.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300235920
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 10/02/2018
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Robert Holland is one of the world’s leading historians of the Mediterranean. He is visiting professor at the Centre for Hellenic Studies at King’s College London.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations viii

Acknowledgements xiii

1 Shelley Burning: The Mediterranean and British Culture 1

2 The Antique, the Noble and the Stupendous: The Turn to the Mediterranean, 1740-1800 23

3 The Distorted Mirror: The South in British Culture during the Age of Byron, 1800-30 65

4 Blue Solitudes: The Mediterranean and the Shaping of Victorian Britain, 1830-60 109

5 An Enchanted Garden: The Mediterranean and the Aesthetics of High Victorianism, 1860-90 157

6 The Cult of Beauty: The Mediterranean and British Modernism, 1890-1918 192

7 That Splendid Enclosure: Meanings of the Mediterranean from Rupert Brooke to Damien Hirst 225

Notes 263

Select Bibliography 297

Index 306

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