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.
'Joscelyn Godwin, whose translation is a masterpiece of clarity and scholarship, has achieved something truly remarkable with this beautiful edition. It is unquestionably one of the publishing events not just of the year but of the century' - Andrew Graham-Dixon, The Daily Telegraph 'A mammoth task of inestimable value, carried out with learning, elegance and wit' - International Herald Tribune 'An extraordinary and exceptional book' - The Architects' Journal 'Adds a fresh dimension to our understanding of the Renaissance' - The Times 'Joscelyn Godwin has proven that a desiccated rose can not only live again, but may also, with the help of fantasy, grow vivid as never before' - The New York Review of Books 'Should undoubtedly find a place in every serious English-speaking academic library' - The Art Book