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Cross-Cultural Encounters between the Mediterranean and the English-Speaking Worlds

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Edited By Christine Reynier

The Mediterranean world has long had strong cultural links to Great Britain as well as to the United States. Through the analysis of artistic objects and critical writings that crystallise this encounter, the essays in this volume demonstrate the variety and complexity of the connections between two geographical zones and two or more cultures.
Mediterranean cultures are shown to haunt American and British culture and artistic productions. The relation between British and American literature and art on the one hand, and Mediterranean arts on the other goes beyond the mere inscription of British and American culture in a Mediterranean tradition. British and American culture and art come out as unearthing a wide variety of Mediterranean artistic forms, renewing and transforming them.
This collection shows how lively the encounter between the Mediterranean and the English-Speaking worlds still is. It highlights how much English as well as American culture and art owe today to the Mediterranean ones; how, mainly in the fields of literature and art, the two civilisations have never discontinued the dialogue they adumbrated centuries ago.

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CHRISTINE REYNIER - Introduction - 7

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CHRISTINE REYNIER Introduction The Mediterranean world at large1 and Great Britain or the United States have long had strong historical, political and cultural links. This volume explores the variety and complexity of the connections between two geographical zones and two or more cultures through the analysis of ar- tistic objects (mainly novels, poetry, travel narratives, essays, and paint- ings) or critical writings, all crystallising the encounter. The aim is to study the encounter (which can be of an artistic, political or critical na- ture) between different traditions and cultures and examine what happens when they come together. Mediterranean cultures that were at one point in history the victims of the British or American colonial strategies (they were either stifled or plundered, an aspect of Empire that has been widely covered and stud- ied), are here shown to come back with a vengeance and haunt American and British culture and artistic productions. The relation between British and American literature and art on the one hand, and Mediterranean arts, literary genres and forms on the other, are analysed. In the various essays presented here,2 this relation appears to be far more than a way of ac- knowledging a debt to the Mediterranean culture and inscribing British and American culture in a Mediterranean tradition. British and American art and culture come out as unearthing a wide variety of Mediterranean artistic and cultural forms, renewing them, transforming them in a dou- ble process of appropriation and accommodation, hybridisation and fer- tilisation, which helps...

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