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In the Shadow of Vesuvius


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About the Author

Daisy Dunn is a classicist, art historian and cultural critic. She read Classics at Oxford, before winning a scholarship to the Courtauld and completing a doctorate in Classics and History of Art at UCL. She writes and reviews for a number of newspapers and magazines, and is editor of Argo, a Greek culture journal. Her first books, Catullus' Bedspread and The Poems of Catullus, were published in 2016.


'A fascinating, compelling and excellent biography of the two great Plinys of Ancient Rome, as well as a celebration of nature, a study of literature and the human soul, and a lens into Roman society itself ... This work of both scholarship and entertainment, arranged in Plinyesque seasons rather than strict chronology, is a delight that befits their high standards.' Simon Sebag Montefiore

'Starts with an erupting volcano - and then gets more exciting. A wonderfully rich, witty, insightful and wide-ranging portrait of the two Plinys ... and their world.' Sarah Bakewell

'Daisy Dunn's book is an absolute delight. Meticulously researched and beautifully crafted, it shines a clear beam of light into the private lives of Pliny the Elder and Younger.' Giles Milton

'Immensely entertaining and readable .... Dunn has given us a delightful new biography ... Thoroughly recommended' Sunday Times

'Never less than compelling ... Without ever veering into historical fiction, she consistently succeeds in bringing what might otherwise seem dusty and remote to vivid life ... A portrait of the Roman Empire that gives the reader something of the shiver down the spine that Herculaneum can inspire' Tom Holland, Literary Review

'It is a story ...retold with vivid flair...Dunn knits [the two Plinys'] lives together well and analyses the influence that they would have later on scholars from the Italian Renaissance to the English Romantic poets' The Times

'An enthralling and ambitious book ... Dunn has a great eye for a story, and writes wonderfully' The Daily Telegraph

'If only Daisy Dunn's book had been around back when I was an aspiring classicist ... Dunn is a good writer, with some of the easy erudition of Mary Beard ... Her translations of both Plinys are graceful and precise ... Her enthusiasm, together with her eye for the odd, surprising detail, wins you over' New York Times

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