Plzeňské sympozia

Dalibor Tureček

The Pompeii disaster and Czech literary romanticism

pp. 159–170 (Czech), Summary 169 (English), 169–170 (Deutsch)


This paper looks at the issues surrounding the literary portrayal during the first half of the 19th century of the eruption of Vesuvius on 24th August 79 A.D. The author focuses on the novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton The Last Days of Pompeii (1834), which was made available to Czech readers by Püner's translation in 1847, based on a French adaptation for young readers by Adrien Lemercier. The plot centring around a portrayal of the destruction of the ancient city is interpreted with an awareness of its basis in the standards of classical prose (note the didactive function), while the author of the study also refers to passages that disrupt the classicist framework of the text, from extensive explanatory and descriptive sections to elements reflecting intense and sentimental romantic novels and the developing romantic poetics already established in Czech poetry when the translation was written.

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