Slide Image_0.jpg
By Invitation
Mapping the Mediterranean

American Mediterraneans highlights the visual dimension of the books it studies, grouping all 26 illustrations into one freestanding gallery (see slider). No matter the genre, Mediterranean books tend to be lavishly illustrated with engravings and photographs, maps and charts. A substantial history of Mediterranean-oriented advertising imagery also developed in the travel and fruit industries, designed to attract settlers, consumers, and travelers. Many of the texts feature illustrations (drawings, botanical plates, photographs, fold-out maps) that would appeal to a broad audience (late-eighteenth/early-nineteenth-century European elites interested in geography and astronomy, late-nineteenth/early-twentieth-century middle-class American consumers of Mediterranean revival art and architecture). The subject matter and form of these visuals fall into four main categories: maps (Figures 1-8); house and garden, landscape panoramas and close-ups (Figures 9-17); ethnographic portraits (Figures 18-20); travel and product advertisements (Figures 21-25). Grouping them together in one gallery shows the range of the “profusely illustrated” books , from Humboldt (known to have nearly bankrupted himself with the engravings he made/used) forward. Seeing the illustrations together, divided into the four categories, reveals how very different writers, in very different genres, linked only by a thin Mediterranean thread, relied on common conventions of visual representation. It should be impactful for the reader to see them all together, especially the maps with their immediately striking differences. The places themselves vary and subdivide, the Caribbean Sea, extending to Mexico, Central America, the West Indies, Puget Sound and the Pacific Coast, from Venice, California to Montecito and Los Angeles, including San Francisco, “from California and Powell Streets, Looking toward the Bay”. The final impression is the absolute visual continuity of these Mediterranean shores. So all the images side by side work on the principle of that one panoramic view of San Francisco—shows the whole shore! The gallery invites the reader to see differently, to see all at once the argument of the book as a whole.


Join the colloquy

My Colloquies are shareables: Curate personal collections of blog posts, book chapters, videos, and journal articles and share them with colleagues, students, and friends.

My Colloquies are open-ended: Develop a Colloquy into a course reader, use a Colloquy as a research guide, or invite participants to join you in a conversation around a Colloquy topic.

My Colloquies are evolving: Once you have created a Colloquy, you can continue adding to it as you browse Arcade.