Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Book: Pompeii in the Public Imagination

Many congratulations to Shelley Hales and Joanna Paul on the publication of their new edited volume:

Pompeii in the Public Imagination from its Rediscovery to Today
Edited by Shelley Hales and Joanna Paul

440 pages | 45 black & white illustrations, 7 colour plates | 216x138mm
978-0-19-956936-6 | Hardback | 17 November 2011
Oxford University Press

Price: £80.00
  • Offers a broad view of the influence of Pompeii on the Western imagination, allowing readers to compare its impact at different times in history and for different audiences
  • Includes the voices of 'practitioners', such as Robert Harris and the Cambridge Latin team, alongside those of academics
  • Generously illustrated, with the most important images appearing in colour 
The city of Pompeii has had an enormous impact on Western imaginations since its rediscovery under the ashes of the volcano that destroyed it in 79 CE. In the 250 years since excavations began, Pompeii has helped to bring the ancient world to life for everyone, from music hall audiences to gentleman scholars, and it continues to have an impact on the way in which we think about the past, and the human condition itself. The contributors to this generously illustrated volume, who include the novelist Robert Harris, in a recorded interview, investigate how Pompeii has been used in film, fiction, and art on both sides of the Atlantic over three centuries. They explore the many different ways in which Pompeii inhabits our imaginations: as ghostly relic of human suffering, romantic ruin, model of cultural inspiration, home of a distant, decadent culture, and comforting model for everyday life.


1: Shelley Hales and Joanna Paul: Introduction: Ruins and Reconstructions
2: Thorsten Fitzon: A Tamed 'desire for images': Goethe's Repeated Approaches to Pompeii
3: Constanze Baum: Ruined Waking Thoughts: William Beckford as a Visitor to Pompeii
4: Victoria C. Gardner Coates: Making History: Pliny's Letters to Tacitus and Angelica Kauffman's `Pliny and his Mother at Misenum'
5: Barbara Witucki: Site, Sight, and Symbol: Pompeii and Vesuvius in `Corinne, or Italy'
6: Stephen Harrison: Bulwer-Lytton's The Last Days of Pompeii: Recreating the City
7: Meilee D. Bridges: Objects of Affection: Necromantic Pathos in Bulwer-Lytton's City of the Dead
8: Genevieve Liveley: Delusion and Dream in Théophile Gautier's `Arria Marcella: Souvenir de Pompéi'
9: Sarah Betzer: Archaeology Meets Fantasy: Chassériau's Pompeii in Nineteenth-Century Paris
10: Luna Figurelli: Italian Classical Revival Painters and the 'Southern Question'
11: Shelley Hales: Cities of the Dead
12: Eric Moormann: Christians and Jews at Pompeii in Late Nineteenth-Century Fiction
13: Daniel Orrells: Rocks, Ghosts and Footprints: Freudian Archaeology
14: Margaret Malamud: On the Edge of the Volcano: `The Last Days of Pompeii' in the Early American Republic
15: Jon L. Seydl: Experiencing The Last Days of Pompeii in Late Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia
16: Francesca Spiegel: In Search of Lost Time and Pompeii
17: Jeremy Hartnett: Excavation Photographs and the Imagining of Pompeii's Streets: Vittorio Spinazzola and the Via dell'Abbondanza
18: Kenneth Lapatin: The Getty Villa: Art, Architecture, and Aristocratic Self-Fashioning in the Mid-Twentieth Century
19: Matthew Fox: Pompeii in Roberto Rossellini's `Journey to Italy'
20: Kate Fisher and Rebecca Langlands: The Censorship Myth and the Secret Museum
21: Sarah Levin-Richardson: Modern Tourists, Ancient Sexualities: Looking at Looking in Pompeii's Brothel and the Secret Cabinet
22: Writing Pompeii: An Interview with Robert Harris
23: Joanna Paul: Pompeii, the Holocaust, and World War Two
24: Pompeii and the Cambridge Latin Course
25: Andrew Wallace-Hadrill: Ruins and Forgetfulness: The Case of Herculaneum

You can buy it from OUP, but it's a bit cheaper from Amazon:


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