FACSIMILE EDITION OF Hypnerotomachie Poliphile
The Facsimile is available in the original French version and in the Dutch translation. The exact copy is folio size in a faux calf leather binding. The originality and intensity of the lavish original graphic design is thus optimally conveyed.
The book Hypnerotomachie Poliphile was celebrated for its beautiful woodcuts. The inclusion of woodcut illustrations in printed books was still a relatively new phenomenon when it was produced in 1499 (Colonna).
Different pages have consecutive illustrations or illustrations over duplicate pages. This gives a visual dimension to the story’s progression and acts as an early form of the comic book.
There is an obsession with movement in the story supported by the illustrations, resulting in the impression that figures move from one page to the next.
Other typographic innovations include playing with the traditional layout of the text. The text is formed in the shown left page as a challis.
In the book, the inconsolable Poliphile is tormented by insomnia. Thinking about his unrequited love for Polia, he falls asleep and then apparently wakes up in a dark forest where his adventures begin.
In a somewhat labyrinthine story, he travels through many strange places where he encounters dragons, wolves and virgins, against an ever-changing backdrop of mysterious ruins, monuments, orchards, gardens and fountains.
Eventually he meets a nymph who resembles Polia and with whom he falls in love. After triumphant processions and further spectacles, the nymph reveals that she is in fact Polia “who you love so much”. After a ceremony resembling a wedding, they go on a hunt for Cythera in Cupid’s boat.
Polia then takes over the story, telling how Poliphile fell in love with her when he first saw her combing her hair by a window in Treviso. Not only does she reject his advances, but to fulfill a promise of surviving the plague, she dedicates herself to a life of eternal chastity.
Poliphile secretly visits her at Diana’s temple, and when he falls at her feet in a deadly swoon, she drags his body away and hides it. But Cupid appears in a vision and forces her to return and bring Poliphile back to life. Venus blesses their love and the lovers are finally united.
COMPARISON OF THE DUTCH AND FRENCH FACSIMILEPoliphile
Exposition on the dream of Poliphile,
Narrating how Amor fights him because of Polia.
Breda, Book of Orange Foundation, 2018
Translation Dr. Jelle Koopmans, Amsterdam (editor)
Discourse du songe de Poliphile,
Déduisant comme Amour le comat à l’ocassion de Polia.
Paris, Jacques Kerver, 1554
Second edition. Translated by Jan Martin.