Hypnerotomachia | 1969 | 15.4 MB | Creator
Dallington, Robert, 1561-1637, Colonna, Francesco, d. 1527Publisher
Amsterdam : Theatrum Orbis Terrarum; New York, Da Capo Press
This is a 1592 partial translation of an extraordinary early printed book published anonymously at the press of Aldus Manutius in Venice, 1499. It was written in a highly idiosyncratic language composed of Latin, Italian and Greek neologisms. The first vernacular translation of it was made in French in 1546, and this is the second translation in English.
The renown of the original is both for the typography and for the woodcuts, not all of which appear in the English translation.
A young man, Poliphilo, tells the story of a dream in which he searches for his lost beloved, Polia (his name means Lover-of-Polia) in an enchanted world of classical antiquity. This is primarily a spiritual quest, which the dream presents in enigmas. The woodcuts and descriptions of glorious architecture and garden settings were highly influential throughout Europe and the British Isles.
For any English reader who is interested in the Hypnerotomachia, while it takes a little practice to read the f's as s's, and see words like 'iuie' as 'ivy' and 'dyfhe' as 'dish', this Renaissance translation will be greatly rewarding as it conveys the flavour and mystery of the original allegory in the narrator's rich descriptions.
There is a constant play on the page between text, image, and hieroglyphic. See for example p. 81 for invented hieroglyphics, and p. 164, where early examples of Arabic and Hebrew type are set into the illustration alongside Latin and Greek.