"What is the Mediterranean? A thousand and one things at the same time. Not just one landscape, but innumerable landscapes. Not one sea, but a series of seas. Not one civilization, but civilizations piled up one upon the other." (Fernand Braudel) This is all true, but the great paradox of the Mediterranean is that, despite the fact that the region is so varied, it presents itself as a single, coherent image, a system where everything blends together as one unified entity. In order to explain this paradoxical cohesion, the author leads us on an exploration of the many different features that make up the geographical, philosophical, and cultural identity of the Mediterranean. In particular, a quest is set for those elements that constitute what Roland Barthes referred to, in speaking of Cy Twombly's work, as the "Mediterranean effect."
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