Pompeii's Ashes: The Reception of the Cities Buried by Vesuvius in Literature, Music, and Drama

Pompeii's Ashes: The Reception of the Cities Buried by Vesuvius in Literature, Music, and Drama

Eric Moormann

Language: English

Pages: 498

ISBN: 2:00288974

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Although there are many works dealing with Pompeii and Herculaneum, none of them try to encompass the entire spectrum of material related to its reception in popular imagination.

Pompeii’s Ashes surveys a broad variety of such works, ranging from travelogues between ca. 1740 and 2010 to 250 years of fiction, including stage works, music, and films. The first two chapters provide an in-depth analysis of the excavation history and an overview of the reflections of travelers. The six remaining chapters discuss several clearly-defined genres: historical novels with pagan tendencies, and those with Christians and Jews as protagonists, contemporary adventures, time traveling, mock manuscripts, and works dedicated to Vesuvius. “Pompeii’s Ashes” demonstrates how the eternal fascination with the oldest still-running archaeological projects in the world began, developed, and continue until no

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a project worth undertaking. To my knowledge, it is, to date, the most comprehensive one-volume collection of the widest variety of Pompeian works. Its primary goal is to illustrate the massive impact Pompeii has had on the world’s collective imagination and creativity during the past several centuries. I From Treasure Hunting to Archaeological Dig. History of the Excavations of Herculaneum and Pompeii In Antiquity, the region at the foot of Vesuvius was renowned for its healthy climate,

written by southern people, although there are literary impressions of local people like the popular Neapolitan writer Salvatore Di Giacomo at the end of the nineteenth century.376 In this chapter, I will discuss impressions of visits to Portici, Herculaneum, and Pompeii in chronological order, following the development of the excavations. The earliest decades have a disproportionate number of repetitive impressions, although some of these travelogues became standard works that needed to be

works necessary at Herculaneum, the work at Pompeii was progressing too slowly. This was blamed on the local mentality. Piozzi’s remarks, for instance, betray no great respect for the hosts:445 it is in the power, as a Venetian gentleman said angrily, of an English hen and chickens to scratch it open in a week, though these lazy Neapolitans will leave it not half dislodged, before a new eruption swallows all again. It became a literary trope that the houses were small, almost like doll houses,

and the Temple of Isis, other buildings were gradually added, namely the theaters, the amphitheater, the forum and its temples, the baths, and many residences. Newly excavated houses, with their floors and walls in all of their original splendor, were the most demanded. The chronology of the excavation, therefore, can be followed by looking at the houses and objects referred to in travel books and fiction. The names of these houses are often fanciful in both fiction books and scientific

quel tempio d’Iside. È un tutto benché manchi il tetto o altro, che coprisse, e formasse la parte superiore del tempio. […] Non fui in tempo di proibire che si trasportassero alcune pitture al museo. Penso se è possibile di farle rimettere ai luoghi loro. Il resto è per mia disposizione rimasto, perché sia veramente un tutto.” An English tourist would have slept here and died! P. 279 (November 19, 1765): King Ferdinand and Hamilton have been in the temple for one hour. P. 352 (December 17, 1765):

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