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Makings of the Sea is an inquiry into the makings of the Mediterranean imagination in the 20th century, focusing on specific cases in the visual and performing arts, music and literature. It also questions a number of populist perceptions of the Mediterranean and its cultures. Following a thematic structure that falls broadly under the headings of journey, doubt and nostalgia, this is an essay on Mediterranean aesthetics.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-59333-695-0
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Series: Mediterranea 1
Publication Date: Apr 15,2010
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 177
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-59333-695-0
$126.55
$75.93

In Thodor Angelopoulos’s Ulysses’s Gaze it is poetically claimed that God’s first creation was the journey after which came doubt and nostalgia. Anyone who knows the Mediterranean will recognise that claims of this sort go beyond their poetic packaging. Makings of the Sea presents the Mediterranean as a horizon of journey, doubt, and nostalgia. Readers are invited to follow the journey as that which casts the Mediterranean as a universal aesthetic imaginary; where through doubt, a hybrid imaginary emerges over a horizon stretched between utopia and crude fact; and where we are all invited to reconsider nostalgia as the ground without which no one might properly converse with the nuances of everyday life.

Engaging with 20th century Mediterranean visual and performing arts, literature and music, this book invites the reader to consider how everyday aesthetics inhabit and define the Mediterranean as a common cultural horizon founded on difference. The author entertains no illusions on how this region is ‘shared’ between its peoples and their histories. Instead, he urges the reader to attend to what Albert Camus identifies as “the light” which Mediterranean men and women “have been able to keep.” Yet one must never forget that Camus’s statement is further qualified with a warning: “just as the Mediterranean sun is the same for all men, the effort of men’s intelligence should be a common inheritance and not a source of conflicts and murders.”

The first book of a trilogy that explores Mediterranean aesthetics, Maltese born author, John Baldacchino begins his ‘Odyssey’ with as much richness, complexity and depth as the expansiveness and sublimity of Theo Angelopoulo’s film Ulysses’s Gaze. He turns to the Sea to begin weaving the geopolitical specificity of the Mediterranean imagination. In a series of poetic chapters, Baldacchino deftly charts a journey that willingly faces doubt as to the vistas he presents, but always returns home so that he can begin anew. Baldacchino starts his quest by tracing a horizon against which a host of artists, poets, and writers are drawn upon, all the while keeping the significance of the Sea at play as he takes the reader to home shores so that the second volume can begin to appear on a new horizon. The book is an important achievement in Mediterranean geopolitical aesthetics. We await its sequels.

—jan jagodzinski, Professsor of Visual Art and Media Education, University of Alberta

John Baldacchino is Associate Professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College, New York. He was also member of Faculty at Gray’s School of Art in Scotland and at the University of Warwick in England. He writes on the visual arts, aesthetics, critical and cultural theory, philosophy of art and education and political theory. He is the author of Post-Marxist Marxism: Questioning the Answer (1996), Easels of Utopia: Art’s Fact Returned (1998), Avant-Nostalgia: An Excuse to Pause (2002), Education Beyond Education: Self and the Imaginary in Maxine Greene’s Philosophy (2008) and Art’s Way Out (forthcoming).

In Thodor Angelopoulos’s Ulysses’s Gaze it is poetically claimed that God’s first creation was the journey after which came doubt and nostalgia. Anyone who knows the Mediterranean will recognise that claims of this sort go beyond their poetic packaging. Makings of the Sea presents the Mediterranean as a horizon of journey, doubt, and nostalgia. Readers are invited to follow the journey as that which casts the Mediterranean as a universal aesthetic imaginary; where through doubt, a hybrid imaginary emerges over a horizon stretched between utopia and crude fact; and where we are all invited to reconsider nostalgia as the ground without which no one might properly converse with the nuances of everyday life.

Engaging with 20th century Mediterranean visual and performing arts, literature and music, this book invites the reader to consider how everyday aesthetics inhabit and define the Mediterranean as a common cultural horizon founded on difference. The author entertains no illusions on how this region is ‘shared’ between its peoples and their histories. Instead, he urges the reader to attend to what Albert Camus identifies as “the light” which Mediterranean men and women “have been able to keep.” Yet one must never forget that Camus’s statement is further qualified with a warning: “just as the Mediterranean sun is the same for all men, the effort of men’s intelligence should be a common inheritance and not a source of conflicts and murders.”

The first book of a trilogy that explores Mediterranean aesthetics, Maltese born author, John Baldacchino begins his ‘Odyssey’ with as much richness, complexity and depth as the expansiveness and sublimity of Theo Angelopoulo’s film Ulysses’s Gaze. He turns to the Sea to begin weaving the geopolitical specificity of the Mediterranean imagination. In a series of poetic chapters, Baldacchino deftly charts a journey that willingly faces doubt as to the vistas he presents, but always returns home so that he can begin anew. Baldacchino starts his quest by tracing a horizon against which a host of artists, poets, and writers are drawn upon, all the while keeping the significance of the Sea at play as he takes the reader to home shores so that the second volume can begin to appear on a new horizon. The book is an important achievement in Mediterranean geopolitical aesthetics. We await its sequels.

—jan jagodzinski, Professsor of Visual Art and Media Education, University of Alberta

John Baldacchino is Associate Professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College, New York. He was also member of Faculty at Gray’s School of Art in Scotland and at the University of Warwick in England. He writes on the visual arts, aesthetics, critical and cultural theory, philosophy of art and education and political theory. He is the author of Post-Marxist Marxism: Questioning the Answer (1996), Easels of Utopia: Art’s Fact Returned (1998), Avant-Nostalgia: An Excuse to Pause (2002), Education Beyond Education: Self and the Imaginary in Maxine Greene’s Philosophy (2008) and Art’s Way Out (forthcoming).

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Contributor Biography

John Baldacchino

John Baldacchino is Associate Professor in the Department of Arts & Humanities at Columbia University's Teachers College. A graduate of the Universities of Warwick and Malta, prior to Columbia he was a member of faculty at Warwick and at Gray's School of Art in Scotland. He writes about, and has published essays, reviews, and books, on xritical theory, aesthetics and the philosophy of education.

  • Abstract (page 2)
  • Table of Contents (page 7)
  • Acknowledgements (page 9)
  • Introduction (page 11)
    • The Project (page 12)
    • Makings of the Sea (page 13)
    • Nóstos (page 14)
    • Tracing Horizons Against the Hill (page 15)
  • 1 Touched Horizons (page 19)
    • Journey, Doubt, Nostalgia (page 20)
    • Wait a Little and Do Not Anticipate the UnknownŽ (page 23)
    • Ways of Reading the World (page 27)
    • We Talk ... But What Are We Talking About?Ž (page 32)
  • 2 Bodies of Memory (page 39)
    • Odyssean Presence (page 40)
    • Of Eternal, Unconfessed DesireŽ (page 42)
    • From Alexandria (page 46)
    • Besides Modernity (page 52)
  • 3 Private Shores (page 55)
    • Living in a Bell-jarŽ (page 56)
    • Cuttlefish Bones (page 59)
    • Mediterranean Liturgy (page 66)
    • Claiming Immanence (page 71)
    • The Seas Law of Diversity (page 75)
  • 4 A Hole in the Sky (page 79)
    • Madness as an Act and State of LiberationŽ (page 81)
    • Art and Involution (page 84)
    • When the Margin Prevails (page 90)
    • Orestes and the Cyclops (page 94)
  • 5 Everydays Heresy (page 101)
    • Danced Mor(t)ality (page 102)
    • Apocryphal Choices (page 107)
    • Around the Tears of the Damned (page 111)
    • With Dreadless Hand Touching TheeŽ (page 116)
  • 6 In the Poise of Water and Hill (page 125)
    • Avant-nostalgia and the Aesthetics of Suggestion (page 129)
    • Fencing With the Duende (page 133)
    • The Return of the Poet-torero (page 139)
  • 7 On Mediterranean Aesthetics (page 145)
    • Looking At What We Tell (page 147)
    • Looking South to the North and East (page 153)
    • Metanarratives and ƒ (page 156)
    • ƒ the Smiling Sailor (page 159)
  • Bibliography (page 165)
  • Index (page 173)