Guest lecture: Carlo Caruso (University of Siena), Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (1499): Some New Light from the Earliest Reception?

Often dubbed as the most famous book of the Italian Renaissance, Francesco Colonna’s Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (‘The Strife of Love in a Dream’) is a magnificent folio volume published in Venice by Aldus Manutius in 1499. It is a work that retains a somewhat mysterious allure. Its author's traits remain in many respects elusive; the allegorical romance narrated in the text is intermixed with encyclopaedic and often abstruse learning; the lavish apparatus of illustrations – 174 woodcuts with inscriptions in various languages, including hieroglyphics – is the superb work of masters whose identity is to this day unknown. Finally, and most importantly, the language – a mixture of Italian vernacular, Latin, and Greek – appears to be a unicum in Renaissance literature. The lecture will examine the work’s earliest reception in an attempt to understand its meaning and significance for contemporary readers.

Carlo Caruso is Professor of Italian Literature and Philology at the University of Siena (Italy). He is the author of Adonis: The Myth of the Dying God in the Italian Renaissance (2013), the editor of The Life of Texts: Evidence in Textual Production, Transmission and Reception (2018), and the co-editor of Italy and the Classical Tradition: Language, Thought and Poetry 1300–1600 (2009) and La filologia in Italia nel Rinascimento (2018). He has also published critical editions of Paolo Rolli, Libretti per musica (1993); Paolo Giovio, Ritratti (1999); and Diomede Borghese, Orazioni accademiche (2009).

The lecture will be held in English and is hosted by the research group Textual Traditions and Communities in Early Modern Europe. Anyone interested is welcome to attend and join for coffee and refreshments at 4 pm. The lecture will start at 16:15.


Published Mar. 6, 2019 3:44 PM - Last modified Mar. 6, 2019 3:44 PM