John Brewer, the Eli and Edythe Broad Professor of History and Literature, Emeritus, Caltech, will give a talk on February 26 at 7 p.m. about changing views of the history and aesthetics of the Mount Vesuvius eruption of 79 C.E.
The lecture, titled "The Volcano, the Buried Cities, and the Sublime: Vesuvius in the Age of Revolutions," will discuss how novels, poems, and other forms of art propagated a revolutionary view of Vesuvius as a force of regenerative destruction and how those views were challenged in the early 19th century by conservative reinterpretations that harkened back to a Christian idea of volcanic eruption as divine retribution.
Brewer, who joined the Caltech faculty in 2001, previously held faculty positions at the University of Chicago, European University Institute in Florence, UCLA, Harvard University, Yale University, and Cambridge University. He is the author of several books, including The Sinews of Power: War, Money and the English State, 1688–1783 (1990); The Pleasures of the Imagination. English Culture in the Eighteenth Century (1997); and The American Leonardo. A Tale of Obsession, Art, and Money (2009).
More information about the lecture, which will take place in the Dabney Hall Lounge, can be found online at http://www.hss.caltech.edu/news-and-events/master-calendar/86429.
The event is organized by the Caltech-Huntington Program in Visual Culture, which is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and based in the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Above: The Last Day of Pompeii by Karl Bryullov (1799-1852)