The Spirit of the South: Mediterranean “Otherness” according to the Northerners
Demonised and revered, dreaded and venerated, admired and condemned; the encounter with the South is, apparently, a history of incompatible contrasts and dichotomic poles. But, after all, the Spirit of the South in itself cannot be the expression of a unique voice. The Mediterranean, as a “sea between lands,” is by nature a place of contacts, interweaves and clashes between different cultures and peoples. The conflict, then, is multiple from the very beginning. The southern soul has always been fragmented and controversial and so is its perception on behalf of the northern cultures. This essay focuses on how the Northerners’ imagination conceptualised the categories of sameness and diversity, otherness and familiarity, inclusion and rejection, when confronting the Mediterranean.