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OU on the BBC: In the Shadow of the Vesuvius - About The Programme

Updated Wednesday, 19th October 2005

The eruptions of Vesuvius that took place during the late18th century provide a powerful metaphor for the many, often startling, changes that took place in European culture around 1800.

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In the second half of the 18th century, the eruptions of Vesuvius were one of the great tourist attractions of Europe. The expert on the scene was the British ambassador to Naples, Sir William Hamilton, a quintessential man of the Enlightenment. Through his fascination with the volcano and his unconventional second marriage to the beautiful Emma Hart, Hamilton's life became caught up in the passions and conflicts of the dawning Romantic era.

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