Constructing the south : Sicily, Southern Italy and the Mediterranean in British culture, 1773-1926
In the past few years a number of critical studies have been entirely or partly devoted to an analysis of the role played by the Mediterranean in British literature and culture during the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries. These studies include Robert Aldrich's The Seduction of the Mediterranean (1993), James Buzard's The Beaten Track (1993), and John Pemble's The Mediterranean Passion (1987). In Paul Fussell's Abroad: British Literary Traveling Between the Wars (1980), which may be considered a precursor to these, the author observes that "to sketch the history of the British imaginative intercourse with the Mediterranean in modern times is virtually to present a survey of modern British literature"; he goes on to stress that "the Mediterranean is the model for the concept south, and it is a rare Briton whose pulses do not race at the mention of that compass direction". It is the concept "south" in this statement, situated in the area of literary and cultural studies, which constitutes the focus of this thesis.