The Seduction of the Mediterranean: Writing, Art, and Homosexual Fantasy

By Robert Aldrich | Go to book overview

3

ENGLISHMEN IN SOUTHERN EUROPE

The Mediterranean exercised a particularly strong attraction for the British and even more so for British writers. According to Paul Fussell,

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…. The Mediterranean is the model for the concept south, and it is a rare Briton whose pulses do not race at mention of that compass direction. 1

Britons, just like other northern Europeans, visited the South, particularly Italy, for varied purposes—to tour classical ruins, study Renaissance art, bask in the sun, experience exotic lands or escape from their homeland. For some there was also a sexual, or homosexual, purpose in the voyage. 2 As with Winckelmann and Platen, cultural interest and sexual longing went hand in hand, and in the Mediterranean the British could try to satisfy both appetites.

British homosexuals had an especially pragmatic reason for going to the Mediterranean: persecution of homosexuals in Britain. Until the 1860s, homosexual acts were punishable by death under British law, and from that date a sentence of life imprisonment could be imposed. At the end of the eighteenth century, judges still sent convicted sodomites to the pillory, where the battering they received from mobs sometimes resulted in maiming, blindness or death. The early nineteenth century saw a rise in prosecutions of sodomites. For those who escaped capital punishment or imprisonment, conviction could bring fines, social ruin and suffering.

Despite such punishments, a lively ‘homosexual’ subculture existed in Georgian London, complete with meeting places, a slang vocabulary and coded signals for recognition. 3 Pleas for changes in the law were regularly heard; Edmund Burke counted among those who expressed outrage at the fate of homosexuals sent to the pillory. The most adamant demand for acceptance of homosexuals was in the writings of Jeremy Bentham, moral philosopher, scholar and promoter of utilitarianism. Bentham wrote lengthy manuscripts about the need for toleration of sodomites and even

-69-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Seduction of the Mediterranean: Writing, Art, and Homosexual Fantasy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 260

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.