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 highly 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 a primary source for
Renaissance ideas on both buildings and gardens.
In 1592 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 wayward charm and arcane learning in
language accessible to the modern reader. 174 black-and-white