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The Real Rule of Four
The Unauthorized Guide to the New York Times #1 Bestseller
Joscelyn Godwin
ISBN: 9781932857085
Book (Paperback)
Disinformation Books
5 x 8
208 pages
November 1, 2005


Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason’s The Rule of Four is already a bookselling phenomenon. The Ivy League super-achievers drew upon an authentic 1499 Renaissance text to create their thriller about two Princeton undergraduates who try to unravel the mysteries of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (pronounced “HIP-ne-RO-to-MA-kia PO-li-FEE-li”).

The Hypnerotomachia Poliphili is an erotic, pagan epic, written in a private language peppered with words taken from Latin and Greek and decorated with Egyptian hieroglyphs. It was not translated into English for 500 years, until 1999, when Joscelyn Godwin finally achieved that near-impossible task.

In The Real Rule of Four, Professor Godwin carefully investigates each aspect of the history of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili and its use in The Rule of Four, including:

  • What is the Hypnerotomachia?
  • Who wrote the Hypnerotomachia? (A central theme of The Rule of Four)
  • What does the Hypnerotomachia mean?
  • Places and people in The Rule of Four
  • Glossary of names and terms in The Rule of Four

Lavishly illustrated with reproductions of the many beautiful woodcuts in the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, a fold-out color map and photographs of the featured locations at Princeton University, The Real Rule of Four is an indispensable guide to the many fans of Caldwell and Thomason’s best-selling novel.

Joscelyn Godwin is a composer, musicologist and translator, known for his work on ancient music, paganism and music in the occult. He is the author of the first complete English language translation (1999) of one of the first illustrated printed texts, the incunabulum Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (1499). He teaches at Colgate University.
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