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Real Rule of Four: The Unauthorized Guide to the New York Times #1 Bestseller Paperback – November 1, 2005
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It would have been easy, and perhaps tempting, for a scholar of Godwin's knowledge and ability to be patronizing about the Rule of Four, concentrating on correcting its errors and misinterpretations and on displaying his own superior understanding of the Hypnerotomachia, but Godwin does not do that. On the contrary, his attitude to the novel is thoroughly generous and positive. He starts by assuring us that the Hypnerotomachia is a real book, not a fictional invention of Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason, explains its importance in the history of typography and erotic literature, and describes what it is all about. He goes on to analyse the structure -- unusually complex for a popular novel -- of the Rule of Four, and to examine the evidence for the identity of the real author of the Hypnerotomachia. In this his conclusion is different from that reached in the Rule of Four, but he does not dismiss other possibilities as absurd. He describes the historical context in which the Hypnerotomachia was written, including the famous "bonfire of the vanities" of Savonarola.Read more ›
The "Hypnerotomachia" was published in Venice by the famous Renaissance humanist printer Aldus Manutius in 1499 and has intrigued and confounded readers and scholars alike for 500 years. Godwin first gives an overview of the book's plot and discusses the 172 beautiful woodcut engravings that have made the book so fascinating to five centuries of readers. The book is filled with long and painstakingly detailed descriptions of architecture, statues, parades, ruins, pagan rituals, and beautiful, ethereal, naked nymphs and goddesses. In fact, it is this rather blatant erotic element that has certainly helped to make the book so popular. This scandalous aspect of the book made it so popular in fact, that today it is almost impossible to find original copies with all of its engravings intact or without censorship. Godwin also discusses at length the controversy regarding the authorship of the tome, today largely accepted by scholars and historians as the Venetian monk Francesco Colonna.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you like strange, fascinating, historical info, this is for you. I loved it, may not be for everyone.Published 10 months ago by Niamhor Nicraith