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England's HeliconFountains in Early Modern Literature and Culture$
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Hester Lees-Jeffries

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199230785

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199230785.001.0001

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‘Some Fair Book’: The Hypnerotomachia Poliphili in England

‘Some Fair Book’: The Hypnerotomachia Poliphili in England

(p.41) 1 ‘Some Fair Book’: The Hypnerotomachia Poliphili in England
England's Helicon

Hester Lees-Jeffries

Oxford University Press

The hypothetical ‘fair book’ is the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, architectural fantasy, philological nightmare, and ‘impossible, erudite, silly romance’. Michael Leslie notes, in his contribution to a volume of essays devoted to the work, that the Hypnerotomachia is universally recognized as a ‘book’ rather than simply as a ‘text’. Lucy Gent describes the Hypnerotomachia as occupying ‘a kind of hinterland between a classical realist past, already being investigated by early archaeologists, and the printed page’. In the context of this book and its project, the Hypnerotomachia has a metatextual status; it is both text and object and as such, its existence leaves traces and tantalizing gaps; it functions as a kind of metaphor for the lost gardens and lost fountains of early modern England on its own terms, but also in relation to the other texts that are the subjects of this book.

Keywords:   Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, fair book, fantasy, Michael Leslie, text, Lucy Gent, gardens, fountains, England

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