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Shelley Sites/Sights


During their unhappy stay in Naples, the Shelleys attempted to distract themselves with excursions to local archaeological sites. On 5 December 1818, they visited Herculaneum and admired the ruined theater overlooking the site.
On 17 December, the party climbed Vesuvius.
Shelley and Mary rode mules, but Claire, who was ill (or possibly pregnant with Shelley's child) was carried in a sedan chair borne by four men. Although the party would have enjoyed a magnificent prospect of the Bay of Naples, the trip overall was a disaster: as Richard Holmes notes in Shelley: The Pursuit, "Mary exhausted herself, Claire was practically abandoned by her guides in the dark, and Shelley became extremely ill during the descent by torchlight, with an agonizing pain in his side, and virtually collapsed at the guides' hermitage in a 'state of intense bodily suffering'" (463).
Undaunted, however, Shelley organized another sightseeing trip just before Christmas: a visit to Pompei Scavi. This expedition was far less grueling, and far more enjoyable. The party was especially impressed by the temples of Apollo and Jupiter. (Vesuvius can be seen here in the background.)

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Published @ RC

January 2006