Magnum Opus Hermetic Sourceworks Series
This series of limited edition hand-bound books by Adam McLean were initially produced between 1979 and 1986. They were never sold through book dealers, but only by direct mail order. Consequently, these books became collectors items, often fetching high prices on the second-hand market. Only a few copies remain of some of the older titles in this series and a number are now entirely sold out. Since 1997 eighteen new titles have been issued with more in preparation.
No. 21. The Dream of Poliphilus
Edited with an Introduction and Commentary by Adam McLeanThe Dream of Poliphilus, the Hypnerotomachia, or 'Strife of Love in a Dream' is an elaborate allegory written in the mid-15th century by Francesco Colonna, who is thought to have been a monk. The allegory is in the form of a dream journey undertaken by Poliphilus in his quest for his spiritual love Polia. The allegory is extremely elaborate, with detailed descriptions of symbols and architectural elements, but the underlying structure is simple enough and exhibits a transformation of the main character. This allegory was obviously written by someone adept in emblematic symbolism and had a profound influence upon the later emblem tradition. It is illustrated by many famous woodcuts. The book became quite popular, paralleling in popularity Boccaccio's Decameron. We can detect in this work an archetype for later allegorical writings and in particular the 'Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz', with which it shares some points. In 1600 Beroalde de Verville wrote an alchemical commentary on this work in his Le Tableau des riches inventions.
Adam McLean provides an introduction and commentary on the allegorical process and the symbolism contained in this allegory.
Limited edition of 250 signed and numbered copies. 130 pp. 62 illustrations.
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