John Philip Sousa's The Last Days of Pompeii: An Exploration of the Historical and Artistic Treatments Leading to the Wind-Band Suite



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This dissertation explores John Philip Sousa’s The Last Days of Pompeii and its relationship to two preceding artistic treatments of the same title, a novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton and a painting by Karl Bryullov. Each work is examined and analyzed in context of its relationship to the other artistic treatments and the Pompeii historical record. Historically, researchers’ language exaggerated the works’ connections, and this research attempted to substantiate those connections and illustrate the threads between the works. Each treatment was inspired by that which preceded it, but the content transferred from one to the next is minimal. Findings on what did transfer are supported with historical evidence, unique to each creator.