Author(s): Merlin Coverley
Artists and writers from the colder climes of northern Europe have long felt the lure of the South of the continent. Goethe was revitalized by his encounters with Mediterranean culture on his journey to Italy. Nietzsche took flight southwards to begin his life anew, while DH Lawrence sought the health-giving southern sun in Sicily and Sardinia. But across the centuries, other outposts of the South have provoked a similar obsession. The South Seas cast a spell over figures such as Herman Melville, Robert Louis Stevenson and Paul Gauguin. The American Deep South and the southermost reaches of Latin America have been celebrated in the works of writers as diverse as John Muir, Jack Kerouac and Jorge Luis Borges, while the Great White South of the Antarctic has provided the backdrop to the darkest imaginings of Coleridge, Poe and Lovecraft. Moving between geography and mythology, literature and history, this bookexamines the idea of the South as a symbol of freedom and escape, as well as the depository for many of our deepest unconscious fears and desires.