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Pompeii Awakened tells of the re-emergence in 1755 of an evocative, vanished world, which profoundly inspired a later age - from its arts and architecture to its science, sex and religion. The story of Pompeii lies t just in its uniquely preserved classical remains but also in its extraordinary impact on Europe's cultural imagination. Judith Harris brings the doomed city vibrantly to life. In her rich account of those who sifted through its artefacts, we read of Nelson, Napoleon and Mussolini; of poets who sought melancholy fulfilment from Pompeii's shattered walls; of Victorian preachers who equated it with Sodom and Gomorrah; and of the many others - engineers and architects, artists and cinematographers - for whom the city has never ceased to resonate. Harris has flown over Pompeii in a hot-air balloon, delved into ancient diaries and descended deep underground to assess the latest excavations. As the sleeping city re-awakens in her hands, Pompeii casts its spell once more, bewitching those who seek to unearth its buried secrets.
Judith Harris was educated in the United States and Switzerland. She had a career as a diplomat - where she was a US cultural attache in Rome - before turning to journalism. Her writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Time magazine and The New Republic, and for 25 years she conducted a weekly radio broadcast on Italian culture - especially archaeology - for the Italian national network RAI.