Today my google search began with, “sacred heart coriolis jean – bernard desjardins”. This was inspired by the inserted card illustrating a person holding a hawk? surrounded by thorns (check the top of the thorns closely. See the “S”?). The reverse of the card holds an image of the sacred heart and mentions Desjardins and Coriolis.
I am a creature of images so of course, rather than focusing on the internet pages available, I look at the image section. This led me to an image of a note about Alan Turing. I knew from past research on a different project that Alan Turing was a brilliant cryptologist. Some of the images that came up included references to his time at Princeton University.
I remembered research on the steam tunnels in the past had indicated some connection with Princeton so I searched again with the keywords “Princeton steam tunnels.” This search brought me to a book called “The Rule of Four”. Written by authors Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason in 2004, the book is about four students are trying to solve a mystery in a rare book from 1499 Italy. This caught my eye immediately based on my research about Aldus Manutius. I wondered if he might have published the book. The book they were trying to decipher is a real book called, “Hypnerotomachia Poliphili“.
This is an extremely interesting line of research as, indeed, Aldus Manutius is connected with the original text of “Hypnerotomachia Poliphili”. The authorship of this book is a matter of intrigue as it was originally published anonymously. There are innumerous riddles and cyphers that exist including a phrase that is formed from the decorative initial letters of each chapter.
The authorship issue is one that comes up frequently in the book, “Ship of Theseus”. I had just about decided that it really did not matter to me who wrote it, that it was the content of the book that mattered. Today, I found an article written in 2015 that sums up my opinion on the authorship issue perfectly. In “A Journal of Verbal/ Visual Enquiry“, John Dixon Hunt wrote about Hynperotomachia, “The authorship question, I must say, somewhat bores me, being brought up in a school of literary criticism where the text was king and the author fairly marginal. I am of the Shakespearean school that says the person who wrote the plays was somebody (or even a consortium) called Shakespeare, as the person who proclaims himself the author of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili was one Francesco Colonna, a Venetian monk with connections in Treviso, whence Poliphilo’s beloved Polia says she comes.”
He further writes, “At the very opening of his book, Poliphilo says that all things human are nothing but a dream[…]He is indeed an assiduous recorder or commentator — careful in his descriptions, yet largely uncurious about what they might mean, unless — as with the three doors — he is forced to make a decision.”
In my opinion, you could easily say the same about “S”. There are times when “S” wonders if he is in a dream. As he begins to write, he tries to direct his words but eventually gives up and becomes a chronicler of events.
The book “Hypnerotomachia” mentions the event know as “bonfire of the vanities” from February 7, 1497. This was an event brought on by a minister preaching about the sin of vanity items like mirrors, elegant dresses, makeup, playing cards and books. Literally, piles of books were burned alongside many other items that might lead one astray. The preacher was Savonarola. If you are interested in these events, there is an intriguing book called, “Savonarola” by Donald Weinstein published at Yale University Press…hmm Yale again…another constellation. (Princeton has a Yale Bulldog mascot in a gutter on their Princeton Chapel. A serious rivalry:) )
There have been numerous academic studies done on the gardens and sculptures described in “Hypnerotomachia.” Research lead me to information that the Gardens of Barmoza were inspired by the text. Raffaella Fabiani Giannetto mentions the similarity between the Gardens of Barmoza and “Hypnerotomachia”. Roswitha Sterwering writes at length about the descriptions of the gardens in “Hypnerotomachia”.
The Gardens of Barmoza were influential in the painting of Salvadore Dali and the author Jean Cocteau. One of my favorite sculptures from the park was the inspiration for Salvdore Dali’s Tempation of St. Anthony. If you sit in the mouth of the monster and whisper, you can be heard very clearly from outside the mouth. The sculpture is called, “All Reason Departs”. This happens to me ever time I read “Ship of Theseus”.
My final constellation of the day concerns the name Roswitha and Straka. Note that Roswitha Sterwering wrote about “Hypnerotomachia.” I find her name odd. Once when I was searching for information about the “Night Palisades” cover I found a movie that was starring a young woman named Roswitha Straka. Note the similarity between the movie poster and the book cover. The movie is “Udet – die vergessenen Briefe”. It is a movie by Alexander Bruckner about a young man who learns about his grandfather by a “devised” letter. There is not much of a description about the movie but is won awards at Cannes for movie shorts.