The Current Issue

August 2018, Issue 467 Robert Mayhew on the Endeavour * Frank Prochaska on the British and American empires * Frances Wilson on the allure of the Mediterranean * Thomas Shippey on England's lost King Edmund * Emma Smith on Shakespeare's wife * James Sharpe on Gypsies * Vicky Pryce on Barclays * Natasha Cooper on Jessica Mann * Piers Brendon on Britain in the twentieth century * Dominic Sandbrook on Yuval Noah Harari * Charles Foster on whales * Jane O'Grady on love sickness * Simon Baker on Andrew Miller * Matt Rowland Hill on Edouard Louis * John Sutherland on Robert Graves * Miranda France on Melissa Harrison *  and much, much more…

Frances Wilson

The Warm South: How the Mediterranean Shaped the British Imagination

By Robert Holland

‘O for a beaker full of the warm South’, wrote Keats in ‘Ode to a Nightingale’. Pale, spectre thin and coughing up blood, Keats left London in September 1820 for Italy, where five months later he died, his lungs two shrivelled balloons. It’s hard to understand how a set of dank, cramped rooms by the Spanish Steps was believed to be better for consumption than the wide open skies of Hampstead Heath, but such was the myth of the Mediterranean. He knew nothing about Italy, wrote nothing about Italy and saw little beyond his bed curtains, but the spirit of Romanticism has always been more alive at Keats’s grave in Rome’s Protestant Cemetery than... read more

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