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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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CATHERINE DELYFER - New Woman Fiction, Gender and Empire: Egyptian Encountersand Subversions in Marie Corelli’s Ziska (1896)and Victoria Cross’s Six Chapters of a Man’s Life (1903) - 149

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CATHERINE DELYFER New Woman Fiction, Gender and Empire: Egyptian Encounters and Subversions in Marie Corelli’s Ziska (1896) and Victoria Cross’s Six Chapters of a Man’s Life (1903) In the wake of a series of recent studies on New Woman fiction and Em- pire,91 this paper examines two little studied yet very successful Victo- rian tales, Ziska (1896) by Marie Corelli (Mary Mackay) and Six Chap- ters of a Man’s Life (1903) by Victoria Cross (Annie Sophie Cory). Set in Egypt, these two novels explore issues of property, possession, and self-possession, and reflect on interesting analogies between gender and race. In both cases, the geographical distance from Britain and the Medi- terranean influence contribute to sexual, racial, and political discoveries. While earlier Victorian female explorers, such as Mary Kingsley or Isabella Bird Bishop,92 had enjoyed the therapeutic effects of travelling, as they journeyed away from crippling social conventions at home, the later generation of female writers, in the 1890s, were more inclined to expose imperialist attitudes and the possessive, patriarchal values embo- died in the white man’s relationship with both women and natives. In this respect Ziska and Six Chapters differed widely from male-authored adventure novels of the late nineteenth century, such as Henry Rider Haggard’s enormously successful book She (1887). While such adven- ture novels are essentially conservative tales, which aim at consolidating the assumed rights and privileges of the Western world, Cross’s and Co- relli’s colonial fiction attempts, by contrast, to denaturalize sexual and 91 Susan Morgan’s...

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