Bought a copy of Francesco Colonna’s Hypnerotomachia Poliphili from the Seminary Co-op Bookstore today. I had seen it earlier at a friend’s house in Austin and had been fascinated by the illustrations, especially since they seemed almost impeccable despite the fact that they had been made when woodcuts were quite new. Now, however, I am drawn to it because of its architectural illustrations, which are quite relevant to a project I am currently working on. Immediately after I bought it, I rushed out of the co-op and tore off the paper and began reading it on the steps. I was immediately entranced by Godwin’s translation, and I had read several pages before I looked up. I love the layout of the book–it looks almost exactly like the original–and I lost myself in it for several minutes before looking up. Although the pricetag is quite high, I highly recommend it.
I also looked at a book on astrology in Barnes and Noble–astrology, believe it or not, being quite essential to my studies at the University of Chicago (in addition to alchemy and the like). I cannot express how annoyed I am that almost all modern books are written by stoned idiots who try to spell commonplace words differently so as to make them seem “cooler” or something. For instance, I bought a book at Powell’s the other day called Astrologickal Magick. What is wrong with “Astrological Magic”? Anyway, contrary the adulatory comments of the people on the Amazon page I have linked, I find that the book is nothing but complete bullshit. Hardly useful for studying what Kepler and the rest thought of astrology. At least it was very cheap (which is why I bought it). Back to the point–the book at B&N at least made an attempt to be scholarly, and I may go back and buy it. It included tables and descriptions of how to make charts. But it was the only book among a thousand that deserves even to be near the University of Chicago.
Anyway, back to the library, I guess.