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German Masculinity, Nationalism, and Pompeii: Eduard von Mayer's Pompeji in seiner Kunst (1904)

Sarah Levin-Richardson
Friday, October 14, 2016 - 3:30pm
Den 359

Fall 2016 :: Cross-Disciplinary Lectures in Germanics

Pompeii is best known today as a "time capsule" of antiquity, preserved by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the year 79 CE. Through the lens of Eduard von Mayer's guidebook Pompeii in seiner Kunst (1904; translated as Pompeii as an Art City in 1907), this talk explores how the small Roman town of Pompeii came to provide a historical model for the type of masculinity that Mayer and other German intellectuals and artists advocated. This masculinity embraced homoeroticism as a means to strengthen bonds among men for the betterment of society, and thus supported a new vision of German masculinity and national identity.

Sarah Levin-Richardson (PhD, Stanford University) is an Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of Washington. She has published articles on gender and sexuality in Pompeii and Roman culture more broadly, as well as on modern receptions of Pompeii. She has excavated at Pompeii, in the Roman Forum, and on Crete, and is currently working on a monograph exploring the physical, social, and emotional environment within Pompeii's brothel.