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Hypnerotomachia Poliphili: The Strife of Love in a Dream Paperback – June 6, 2005
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From Library Journal
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
I've been plugging away at it now for almost 9 months, and nothing yet has happened. And evidently, that's the way it should be. This is a dream book. An insomniac's delight. It moves as slowly through its obsessive descriptions of the monuments, carved architectural ornaments, jewelled clothing, and occassional naked limbs of Parnassus as fruit ripening in perpetual springtime. It's a trick: A cure for lost love and reconciliation with the unattainable. And if you're having trouble remembering your own dreams, Hypnerotomachia might just help you develop the an inner language of words, symbols, and images to bridge waking and sleeping realities.
The publisher Thames & Hudson has done an exemplary job fabricating a beautiful presentation volume, reproducing all of the engravings and typogography of the original. This is truly a book of substance: a 486 page artifact of sturdy paper weighing in at 6 lbs!
(A small warning: even though Dr Godwin gives such thorough and helpful background information at the beginning, as well as charts and appendices for translation of the Latin and Greek phrases and Goddess names, do yourself the favor of avoiding p xiii, wherein the ending is blithly given away).
How to rate this book? It's not for everyone. Masons might like it. Lutenists maybe. And night owls. I'm glad I bought mine.Read more ›
The publishers of this edition have tried to reproduce, as much as is possible, the feeling of the original, while at the same time producing it on a commercially feasible scale. This leads, inevitably, to some compromises. The typesetting is very well done by modern digital techniques, the presswork is standard offset lithography and the paper a stiff dead white wove offset grade. Consequently the tactile character of the book is quite unlike original fifteenth- and sixteenth-century books. A private-press printer like Mardersteig's Officina Bodoni, or even a high-grade commercial book printer like the Stinehour Press, could have done a handsomer and more authentic job, but the book's price, already high, would then have been stratospheric. This said, the size and appearance of the pages are about as close in their resemblance to the original as is feasible using the techniques employed. A cream laid paper, more closely resembling the original, could just as easily and as economically have been used, and it is a pity that it was not.Read more ›
The architectural and other illustrations are strange, but they are perhaps the most intriguing thing about the book. Some are reminiscent of Beardsley; others bring to mind Baudelaire's vision of a city made entirely of marble and metal, from which all plants have been banished as asymmetrical.
It will take quite a while to get through this. The peculiar mixed-language flavour of Colonna's prose is hard to reproduce in translation. The work is a long list of vaguely erotic dream-processions of gods and bulls and naked Greeks, with extensive descriptions of the architectural settings they appear in. With its unsparing strings of superlatives, it often reads like the florid descriptions of dishes found on the menu of an overreaching restaurant.
In other words, I may not finish this, but it is fun to look at.
Modern readers have little patience with description, and that's the sort writing that makes up the bulk of the HP. There's a story of love that keeps the protaganist moving from scene to scene, but the descriptions and woodcuts are the life of the book. It could serve as a pattern book for artists, sculpters, woodcarvers, and furniture makers. The illustrations are beautifully done although esoteric and strange to the modern eye. The graceful prose makes this enormous book easy to read.
The binding and printing are top-form. The cover is full-cloth, and the reproductions of the woodcuts are clear. The paper is an easy-on-the-eyes cream color. The book is physically large and requires a slant-top reading table if one wants to read it for more than a few minutes. The size and quality of the HP reminds me that books once were valued objects rather than the cheap and disposable items they now mostly are...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Difficult reading. Brings to light literature from the Renaissance era, definitely a researcher's resource.Published 7 months ago by K. Poschman
Oh, this is fun. And so enlightening about the importance of architectural and landscape design in creating a full, rich environment.Published 9 months ago by Trevor Fraser
I am not a scholar of Cinquecento Italian Renaissance thought but I am a scholar of water animated gardens from the period. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Dr Lindsay Gerard Sharp
I would love to see a visual representation of this book in a virtual manifestation. If anyone would like to give it a try I have an interest in the esoteric idea of this bookPublished on July 13, 2013 by Karl Nygren
I love this book. When I bought it I thought that I would be reading it in small chunks over a long period of time but I got totally absorbed in it and it became my primary... Read morePublished on May 6, 2013 by sgdkcph
This was a purchase spurred by the reading if another book. This book is not cheap and ordering used books is always a little nerve wracking. Read morePublished on November 30, 2012 by Holley L.