Funded Doctoral Award – Under the Volcano: Visitors to Vesuvius in the Romantic Era

By Emily Paterson-Morgan

Applications are invited for an Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC DTP-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award at the University of Oxford, in partnership with Dove Cottage, Grasmere.

Supervisory team: Professor Catriona Seth (Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, University of Oxford) and Jeff Cowton MBE (Dove Cottage)

Wordsworth famously wrote ‘On the Departure of Sir Walter Scott from Abbotsford, for Naples’. Like the author of Ivanhoe, French-language writers, among them Staël, Lamartine, Chateaubriand, Bonstetten, Gautier… visited Naples and were inspired by the town and its surroundings. The environment drew them to evoke the sea and volcanic eruptions, to reflect on the inscription of history in the landscape, from Antiquity to contemporary upheavals. To many of them, setting foot on Neapolitan soil, things were both familiar and exotic. The port was a gateway to Africa, a hub for exchanges between North and South. The archaeological surveys in Pompeii and Herculaneum with the uncovering of frescoes and artefacts drew tourists back to their cultural heritage. The vedute painted by Volaire, John Warwick Smith and other (often less talented) painters graced many a wall throughout Northern Europe.

There is no study of Naples as viewed by late Enlightenment and Romantic French-language visitors. Noli’s 1928 Les romantiques français et l’Italie, Montègre’s massive …read more