3.09 D’Onofrio 1795

Arcangelo D’Onofrio, Ausführlicher Bericht von dem leztern Ausbruche des Vesuvs, am 15ten Juni 1794, Dresden 1795

Be 4015-3950 raro IV

As the title page explains, in addition to D’Onofrio’s report, the publication contains a hermit’s letter to Vesuvius and two letters by the Duca della Torre on the same event. The translation was undertaken by the Dresden court bookseller and printer Conrad Salomon Walther, who boasts in his preface that he has compiled the most excellent letters of the famous naturalists of Naples. He addresses himself both to ‘physicists’ and to ‘every lover of natural history’, thus documenting the broad interest of his contemporaries in ‘one of the strangest natural events’. The publisher refers to the ‘illustration taken from nature’ he owes to a friend in Naples, which is missing from the copy in the Bibliotheca Hertziana. In the Dresden copy, the plate precedes the title page, while in the Zurich copy it follows the preliminary account. The engraving shows Vesuvius from a safe distance, in the usual manner of evocative night views, but seems to refer to the text as it depicts the columns of fire and smoke mentioned. The glow of the flames is reflected in the water and on the people witnessing the eruption, shifting the interpretation of the event from catastrophe to theatrical spectacle. However, as published reports show, during this eruption, which was preceded by an earthquake, Torre del Greco disappeared under a lava flow. [PH]

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