Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

A Modernist Tour of the Mediterranean

ENGL 360.301
instructor(s):
TR 3-4:30

To American, British, and European writers and travelers of the 20th century, the Mediterranean offered the pleasures of sun, sea, classical ruins, exotic cultures, erotic excitement, and escape from the oppressions of modern urban industrial society. This course will examine fiction and non-fiction about modern travel to the countries of the Mediterranean. Readings will include Hemingway and Fitzgerald in Spain and France, D.H Lawrence in Sardinia, Thomas Mann in Venice, Henry Miller in Greece, Lawrence Durrell in the Aegean Islands and Egypt, Mary Lee Settle in Turkey, Andre Gide in Tunisia, Albert Camus in Algeria, and Paul Bowles in Morocco. Paul Theroux's travel book, The Pillars of Hercules: A Grand Tour of the Mediterranean, will provide the route of the course--from Spain eastward through France, Italy, the Balkan peninsula, Greece and Turkey, Israel and Palestine, then returning westward through North Africa. We'll focus on how modern writers romanticize peasant culture, Greek and Roman antiquity, and Islam. Possibilities for research include comparison of literary and film versions of such movies as Death in Venice, Zorba the Greek, The Stranger, or The Sheltering Sky; relation of Edward Said's Orientalism to the representation of Mediterranean Islamic societies; contrast of European and native writers; or the relation of literary modernism, post-colonialism,or the business of tourism to the literature of travel. Several short response papers and a longer research paper.