Science, Cosmopolitanism, and the Greek Landscape: The Cruises of the Revue Générale des Sciences Pures et Appliquées to the Eastern Mediterranean, 1897-1912
- Journal of Modern Greek Studies
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 30, Number 2, October 2012
- pp. 215-246
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At the turn of the nineteenth century, the blurred contours of the mythical landscapes of Greece acquired sharpness and definition in Western travelers' accounts and visual representations. They were experienced from the mobile elevated platform of steamboats and filtered through the lens of new visual technologies. Traversed by a new category of organized "scientific cruisers," the Greek landscape was a repository of universal values as well as a site of tensions: between a mythical ancient past and a geopolitically dynamic present; between poetic imagination and "clear" scientific observation; between land and sea. Sailing between these tensions, a new cosmopolitan community took shape. This, however, ultimately remained a western elite sailing at a distance from contemporary Greece and its people. It remained a metaphor for ephemeral utopian visions-like the idealized dioramic landscape through which it moved.