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


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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CLAIRE HÉLIE - Basil Bunting’s Briggflatts (1965) and Lucretius’sThe Nature of the Universe (1st c. B.C.):Transposing Mediterranean Contents into Northern Forms - 91


CLAIRE HÉLIE Basil Bunting’s Briggflatts (1965) and Lucretius’s The Nature of the Universe (1st c. B.C.): Transposing Mediterranean Contents into Northern Form Evidence of Lucretius’s seminal influence (ca. 99 BC – ca. 55 BC) on Basil Bunting (1900-1985) is omnipresent, especially if one considers the beginning of his career, that is to say, the late 1920s’ and the early 1930s’. The tutelary figure of the Roman poet is not only omnipresent, it is also acknowledged, if not set forth: Bunting’s first holograph in 1929 (Bunting 2000: 147) is a translation from Latin into English of the hymn to Venus at the incipit of The Nature of the Universe; his 1931 ‘Attis: Or, Something Missing’ (Bunting 2000: 28-33) reads as a warning against the dangers of religion, superstition and myth, suggests atheism as a way to cure fear from people’s minds, and takes up the hymn to Mother Alma from part 2 of the Latin poem; the endnote to that same sonata reads: ‘Parodies of Lucretius and Cino da Pistoia can do no damage and intend no disrespect’ (Bunting 2000: 223); ‘T. Lucretius Carus’ is the first name mentioned in the long list of acknowledgments for Caveat Emptor, a 120 page typescript collection dated 1935. In this period of experimentation with Modernism, the Mediterranean poem and the English language are confronted in an ironic way and the result is one of heterogeneity, if not syncretism. In the 1960s though, after Bunting came back from Persia where he had not written much...

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