Poliphilo's Strife of Love in a Dream, is a romance said to be by Francesco Colonna. First published in Venice, 1499, in an elegant page layout, with refined woodcut illustrations in an Early Renaissance style, Hypnerotomachia Poliphili presents a mysterious arcane allegory in which Poliphilo pursues his love Polia through a dreamlike landscape, and is at last reconciled with her by the Fountain of Venus. The text of the book is written in a bizarre Latinate Italian, full of words based on Latin and Greek roots without explanation. The book, however, also includes words from the Italian language, as well as illustrations including Arabic and Hebrew words; Colonna also invented new languages when the ones available to him were inaccurate. (It also contains some uses of Egyptian hieroglyphs, but they are not authentic, most being drawn from Horapollo's erroneous volume of symbolism.) Its story, which is set in 1467, consists of precious and elaborate descriptions of scenes involving the title character, Poliphilo ("Friend of Many Things", from Greek Polloi "Many" and Philos "Friend"), as he wanders a sort of bucolic-classical dreamland in search of his love Polia ("Many Things"). The author's style is elaborately descriptive and unsparing in its use of superlatives. The text makes frequent references to classical geography and mythology, mostly by way of comparison. The book has long been sought after as one of the most beautiful incunabula ever printed. The typography is famous for its quality and clarity, in a roman typeface cut by Francesco Griffo, a revised version of a type which Aldus had first used in 1496 for the De Aetna of Pietro Bembo. The book is illustrated with 168 exquisite woodcuts showing the scenery, architectural settings, and some of the characters Poliphilo encounters in his dreams.Reseña del editor:
One of the most famous books in the world, the "Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, read by every Renaissance intellectual and referred to in studies of art and culture ever since, was first published in English by Thames & Hudson in 1999. It is a strange, pagan, pedantic, erotic, allegorical, mythological romance relating in high stylized Italian the quest of Poliphilo for his beloved Polia. The author (presumed to be Francesco Colonna, a friar of dubious reputation) was obsessed by architecture, landscape, and costume it is not going too far to say sexually obsessed and its 174 woodcuts are primary source for Renaissance ideas on both buildings and gardens. In 1952 an attempt was made to produce an English version but the translator gave up. The task has been triumphantly accomplished by Joscelyn Godwin, who succeeds in reproducing all its way ward charm and arcane learning in language accessible to the modern reader.
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