SEAA 17-18 49th Annual Conference

Mare Nostrum Representations of Mediterranean Spaces in the English-Speaking Worlds of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

12th-14th June, 2025 Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3

Organisers: Paula Barros, Vanessa Kuhner-Blaha, Valérie Maffre, Florence March, Alice Marion-Ferrand, Sandhya Patel, Christelle Ripoll, Sophie Vasset, Jean Vivier

Advisory board: Agnès Delahaye, Dimitri Garncarzyk, Pierre Lurbe, Florence March, Sandhya Patel, Jonathan Pollock, Sophie Vasset

Abstracts (no longer than 500 words) of your proposed 25-minute presentations, together with a short biographical note, should be sent to Florence March ( and Pierre Lurbe ( by 15th October, 2024. Notification of acceptance: 15th November, 2024.

Une large sélection des contributions sera publiée dans XVII-XVIII, la revue de la Société d’études anglo-américaines des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles . La revue est annuelle avec un comité de lecture international et référencée par le DOAJ. Elle pratique l’évaluation en double-aveugle. Vos propositions d’articles seront attendues pour le 1er septembre 2025.

Mediterranean spaces are points of reference in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literature and culture. A multicultural world, an economic and religious contact zone, a vast geopolitical space, the Mediterranean was a crucible of seminal cultural models, epistemological perspectives, as well as of artistic, visual, and material forms. Out of Shakespeare’s thirty-seven dramatic works alone, twenty are connected to the Mediterranean, from historical and geographical perspectives or through references to Antiquity. The Mediterranean is the realm of the Classics, the agreed-upon repertoire of humanistic culture that continues to be translated and appropriated, from the Levantine inspirations of Milton to Pope or Stern’s works. From Shakespeare’s Italy to Lewis’s Spain, it is also a site that fills imaginations – a fantasized space, notably for its religion, whose often hostile imagology seeps into English Gothic literature (as in The Monk (1796), or The Castle of Otranto (1764)).

The Mediterranean is also linked to forms of colonization - cultural colonization, with the sedimentation of the Grand Tour and the influence of the discovery of the Riviera or the excavations at Pompeii. The Grand Tour was a privileged means of access to the Mediterranean, perceived as a cultured but distant space. As the Tour became an institution, it branched out into linguistic, textual, anthropological, social, and economic domains. It bolstered the circulation of aesthetic elements - visual, architectural, and musical.

Also noteworthy is military colonization, as England was in the process of affirming its imperial and global stature. At this moment in time, the Mediterranean became a space where, through its naval presence, England sought to assert its ambitions in the Old World after the loss of its American colonies within the context of the counter-Revolution as reflected in the battles of Minorca and Gibraltar, or the destruction of Napoleon's fleet at Aboukir during the Egyptian campaign.

« Blue humanities » provide further theoretical perspectives within which to historicize maritime Mediterranean spaces. As Steve Mentz has shown, “blue humanities” or “blue cultural studies” allow for the study of European discourses (political, geographical, literary, environmental, anthropological, ecological, etc.) created around seas and oceans to emphasize their importance in shaping identities and political and cultural expressions throughout history. As a sea confined by land and crisscrossed by constant contacts between men, women, and water, the Mediterranean highlights the disproportionate "connectivity" of this space as compared to vast oceanic expanses.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Representations of Mediterranean spaces in literature, especially in travel literature, particularly the representation of women.
  • The role of Mediterranean spaces, its peoples and languages, in Shakespearean geography and imagination.
  • The place, representation, and appropriation of Mediterranean spaces in material culture.
  • Appropriations of the Classics in literature, through translation (Italian theater, ancient epics) and language learning, especially focusing on language manuals without Latin detours.
  • en particulier, au corpus des manuels de langue sans détour par le latin, phénomène qui commence au XVIIe siècle : pocket books, phrase books (Italie, Espagne, France)
  • à la façon dont ce matériau antique se renouvelle aux  XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles par rapport à la Renaissance humaniste; notamment aux façons dont le XVIIIe siècle reconfigure la référence antique après la rupture du Commonwealth, de Dryden à Johnson ;
  • The link between this appropriation of the Classics and the neoclassical style (Adam style, New Town, late Georgian).
  • Collectors, scientists, or connoisseurs (Hamilton, Everett, Walpole, Mariette, etc.) and their role in the cultural and social circulation of subjects and aesthetics related to Mediterranean spaces.
  • The circulation of influences, forms, and musical languages, from the introduction of the Italian madrigal to that of Neapolitan opera, including the French ballet à entrées.
  • The use of languages from Mediterranean spaces in literature (Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Greek, Arabic, Turkish, Catalan).
  • Evolving English and British perspectives on the Mediterranean during this period of the rise and fall of imperial and global stature. The links between literary representation and diplomatic representation.
  • The degree and forms of military and cultural appropriation of Mediterranean spaces and how they can constitute neocolonial practice.
  • au regard porté sur la littérature et la culture des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles  par les pays méditerranéens aujourd’hui, notamment dans d’autres média artistiques (cinéma, musique) ;
  • The appropriation of the history of Rome by young America and its role in the fashioning of the idea of nation.
  • The perspectives of colonial literature and young American literature on Mediterranean spaces, especially in comparison to British perceptions. 
  • Maritime maps and their strategic or commercial significance.
  • Maritime art and the representation of English/British naval power.
  • The Royal Navy and historical data related to the Mediterranean Sea in logs and journals.
  • The art of navigation in the Mediterranean and the circulation of knowledge.
  • Warfare as a component of Mediterranean and naval identities.

Selected Bibliography

ALAIMO Stacy ed. « Science Studies and the Blue Humanities. » Special Issue of Configurations 27, 4, 2019.

AUSTERN, Linda Phyllis, BAILEY, Candace, EUBANKS WINKLER, Amanda. Beyond Boundaries: Rethinking Music Circulation in Early Modern England. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2017.

BICHAM, Troy. “Eating the Empire: Intersections of Food, Cookery and Imperialism in Eighteenth-Century Britain.” Past & Present, no. 198, 2008, 71-109.

BLAKEMORE, Richard. J. The Maritime World of Early Modern Britain. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2020.

BOXER, C. R. The Tragic History of the Sea. Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2001.

BRAUDEL, Fernand. La Méditerranée et le monde méditerranéen à l’époque de Philippe II. Paris: Armand Colin, 1949.

BUFFERY, Helena. Shakespeare in Catalan: Translating Imperialism. Iberian and Latin American Studies, University of Wales Press, 2007.

CAMARD, Christophe.  « L’Italie selon Shakespeare et Ben Jonson : l’altérité dans un théâtre sans décor », Revue LISA/LISA e-journal, Vol. VI – n° 3 (2008), 246-261.

CAMPILLO, Laura. SH•ES•TRA: Shakespeare en España en Traducción. Alicante: Universidad de Alicante, 2005.

CAVECCHI, Mariacristina, TEMPERA, Mariaangela eds. EuroShakespeares: Exploring Cultural Practice in an International Context. Bologna: Cotepra, University of Bologna, 2002.

CLAYTON, Tom, BROCK, Susan eds. Shakespeare and the MediterraneanThe Selected Proceedings of the International Shakespeare Association World Congress, Valencia, 2001. University of Delaware Press, 2004.

DEPRATS, Jean-Michel, KAPITANIAK, Pierre. Shakespeare et l’Orient. Actes du congrès organisé par la Société Française Shakespeare les 12, 13 et 14 mars 2009. 27(2009),

DOLAN, Brian. Exploring European Frontiers: British Travellers in the Age of the Enlightenment. London: Macmillan, 2000.

DIMMOCK, Matthew. New Turkes: Dramatizing Islam and the Ottomans in Early Modern England. Routledge, 2005.

DUFFY, Michael. “Types of Naval Leadership in the Eighteenth Century.” Naval Leadership in the Atlantic World: The Age of Reform and Revolution, 1700-1850, ed. Richard Harding and Agustín Guimerá, University of Westminster Press, 2017.

GOLDSMITH, Sarah. “Military Mad: War and the Grand Tour.” Masculinity and Danger on the Eighteenth-Century Grand Tour, University of London Press, 2020,75-110.

FABRIS, Angela, GÖSCHL, Albert, SCHNEIDER, Steffen. Sea of Literatures: Towards a Theory of Mediterranean Literature. De Gruyter, 2023.

FUBINI, Enrico. Music and Culture in Eighteenth-Century Europe: A Sourcebook. University of Chicago Press, 1994.

GILLIS, John, R. The Human Shore: Seacoasts in History. University of Chicago Press, 2012.

GRAINGER, John, D. The British Navy in the Mediterranean. New York: Boydell Press, 2017.

GRAZIOSI, Elisabetta. « Revisiting Arcadia: Women and Academies in Eighteenth-Century Italy, » in Findlen, Paula, Italy’s Eighteenth CenturyGender and Culture in the Age of the Grand Tour, Stanford University Press, 2009, 103-124.

HAMPTON, Timothy. Fictions of Embassy: Literature and Diplomacy in Early Modern Europe. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009.

HORDEN Peregrine and Nicholas Purcell. The Corrupting Sea: A Study of Mediterranean History. London: Blackwell, 2000.

KLARER, Mario. Mediterranean Slavery and World Literature Captivity Genres from Cervantes to Rousseau. Routledge, 2020.

KLEIN Bernhard and Gesa Mackenthun. Sea Changes. Historicizing the Ocean. New York: Routledge, 2004.

KLEIN Bernhard. Maps and the Writing of Space in Early Modern England and Ireland. Palgrave, 2017.

LEMIRE, Beverly. “‘Men of the World’: British Mariners, Consumer Practice, and Material Culture in an Era of Global Trade, c. 1660–1800.” Journal of British Studies, vol. 54, no. 2, 2015, 288-319.

MACLEAN, G. M. The Rise of Oriental Travel: English Visitors to the Ottoman Empire, 1580-1720. New York, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

MARGAZALLI, Silvia, et al., eds/ Rough Waters: American Involvement with the Mediterranean in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Liverpool University Press, 2010.

MENTZ, Steve. An Introduction to Blue Humanities. New York and London: Routledge, 2024.
“Toward a Blue Cultural Studies: The Sea, Maritime Culture, and Early Modern English Literature.” Literature Compass 6/5, 2009, 997-1013.

MOUNT, Harry. “The Monkey with the Magnifying Glass: Constructions of the Connoisseur in Eighteenth-Century Britain.” Oxford Art Journal, vol. 29, no. 2, 2006, 167-84.

PARKER, Kenneth ed. Early Modern Tales of Orient: a Critical Anthology. London: Routledge, 1999.

REDFORD, Bruce. The Antic and the Antique in 18th-Century England. Getty Publications Virtual Library, 2008.

RODRIGUEZ PEREZ, Yolanda ed. Literary Hispanophobia and Hispanophilia in Britain and the Low Countries (1550-1850). Amsterdam University Press, 2020.

STURGESS, Kim C. Shakespeare and the American Nation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

SWEET, Rosemary. Cities and the Grand Tour: The British in Italy, c.1690-1820. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

VIVIES, Jean. English Travel Narratives in the Eighteenth Century: Exploring Genres. London: Routledge, 2002.

WELCH, Anthony. “The Cultural Politics of Dido and Aeneas.” Cambridge Opera Journal, vol. 21, no. 1, 2009, 1-26.

WINTLE, Michael. “Emergent Nationalism in European Maps of the Eighteenth Century.” The Roots of Nationalism: National Identity Formation in Early Modern Europe, 1600-1815, ed. Lotte Jensen, Amsterdam University Press, 2016, 271-88.