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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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The Fountains of Venus and Adonis: Revelation and Reflection

The Fountains of Venus and Adonis: Revelation and Reflection

(p.69) 3 The Fountains of Venus and Adonis: Revelation and Reflection
England's Helicon

Hester Lees-Jeffries

Oxford University Press

The first book of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, and indeed the romance as a whole, reaches its climax at the Fountain of Venus. The Fountain of Venus epitomizes the symbolic polysemy of the fountain, while the Fountain of Adonis appropriates and reinvents its syncretic possibilities for narratological and structural ends. This fountain at the centre of the Hypnerotomachia's final locus amoenus has a function which is at once both reflexive and transformative, epitomizing a principle in which all the fountains of the text to some extent participate. It suggests ways of seeing and ways of reading that colour what follows it, and also that which has come before. Like the veil of the Fountain of Venus, the surface of water, and the page itself, the Fountain of Adonis is a blank, endlessly informable space, a place to think about love, art, and imagination; a place where, through these last, desire can be realized, and death can be transcended.

Keywords:   Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, fountain, Venus, Adonis, polysemy, water, love, art, imagination, death

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