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Architectures of the Text: An Inquiry Into the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. Symposium, University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Philadelphia, Pa., February 11, 2012.


Architectures of the Text: An Inquiry Into the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili A symposium to celebrate the acquisition of the second edition of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (1545) by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. Website

To download podcasts of the lectures, select the additional files below. Files in .mp4 format include images; files in .mp3 format are audio only. To download the symposium program, select download button at right.

In April 2011, the University of Pennsylvania Libraries acquired a copy of the uncommon second edition of Francesco Colonna’s Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (Venice 1545). Since the appearance of the first edition in 1499, the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili has been heralded as the most beautiful book to appear in the Italian Renaissance. Printed in Venice by Aldus Manutius, “The Dream of Poliphily” was admired by Aldus’s contemporaries for its scholarship and value as an architectural treatise. Forty-six years after the publication of the first edition, Aldus’s heirs printed a second edition in 1545. This second edition suggests a renewed interest in the work, within Italy and beyond, for within a year a French translation appeared, followed by an English translation in 1592. Celebrated for its typographical design and illustrations, the Hypnerotomachia continues to attract the interest of scholars, typophiles, and collectors; it remains available in modern scholarly editions in both print and electronic format.

The University of Pennsylvania Libraries' acquisition came at the suggestion of John Dixon Hunt, Professor Emeritus of Landscape Architecture at the University. Funds for its purchase came from the G. Holmes Perkins Books and Archives Fund, established by G. Holmes Perkins, Professor of Architecture and Urbanism and former dean of the Graduate School of Fine Arts (now the School of Design). The Libraries and the School of Design administer this fund jointly.

On February 11, 2012, the Anne and Jerome Fisher Fine Arts Library, the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and the School of Design collaborated on a one-day symposium to celebrate the acquisition of the Hypnerotomachia. Presentations took place in the Class of '55 room, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library.


10:30am-11:30am Movement 1: Books and Histories

Welcome: David McKnight

William B. Keller, "Hypnerotomachia Joins the Perkins Library: Collecting to Support Persuasion in Architectural Design and History"

Eric Pumroy, "Remarks on the 1499 Hypnerotomachia Poliphili at Bryn Mawr Special Collections"

John Dixon Hunt, "Hypnerotomachia Poliphili: A Child's Guide to the Story Line and a Look at its Afterlives"

Lynne Farrington, "'Though I could lead a quiet and peaceful life, I have chosen one full of toil and trouble': Aldus Manutius and the Printing History of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili"

11:30am-1:00pm Movement 2: Words and Interpretations

Victoria Kirkham, "Hypno What? A Dreamer's Vision and the Reader's Nightmare" Ann Moyer, "The Wanderings of Poliphilo through Renaissance Studies"

Ian White, "Multiple Words, Multiple Meanings in the Hypnerotomachia"

2:00pm-3:00pm Movement 3: Art and Illustration

Chris Nygren, "The Hypnerotomachia and Italian Art Circa 1500"

Larry Silver, "Not Hypnerotomachia: Venice's Other Early Woodcut Illustrations"

3:00pm-4:30pm Movement 4: Imagined Architectures

Raffaella Fabiani Giannetto, "'Not before either known or dreamt of': The Hypnerotomachia Poliphili and the Craft of Wonder"

David Leatherbarrow, "What Fragments are to Desire, Elements are to Design"

Ian White, "Mathematical Design in Poliphilo's Imaginary Building, The Temple of Venus"

4:30pm-5:00pm Break and Interlude

Shushi Yoshinaga, "Hypnerotomachia Poliphili: A Modern Heritage": a display of objects and images

5:00pm-6:00pm Movement 5: Contemporary Resonances and Final Observations


Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, Aldus Manutius

Additional Files

HuntChilds-Broadband High.mp4 (178357 kB)
John Dixon Hunt lecture, audio file with images

FarringtonPrintHist-Broadband High.mp4 (71481 kB)
Lynne Farrington lecture, audio file with images

Kirkham.mp4 (91614 kB)
Victoria Kirkham lecture, audio file with images

Nygren.mp4 (158144 kB)
Christopher Nygren lecture, audio file with images

Silver.mp4 (79572 kB)
Larry Silver lecture, audio file with images

Giannetto.mp4 (92294 kB)
Raffaella Fabiani Giannetto lecture, audio file with images



Date Posted: 10 March 2013