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Title:From text to theatre: An architectural reading of Heinrich Khunrath’s Amphitheatrum Sapientiae Aeternae (1595, 1609)
Author(s):de Bruijn, Willem
Subject(s):Information and Space
Spatial Analogies
Heinrich Khunrath
Amphitheatrum Sapientiae Aeternae
Abstract:The author looks at Heinrich Khunrath’s Amphitheatrum Sapientiae Aeternae (1595, 1609) and the use of metaphor in the title of this book. A theosophical treatise without parallel, Khunrath’s Amphitheatrum is probably most famous for its copperplate engravings combining word and image in circular form. The text, on the other hand, is notorious for its highly idiosyncratic and largely impenetrable use of language. The title—Amphitheatre of Eternal Wisdom—seems comparatively straightforward in this respect. Yet, it is this title that raises an important question: Why does Khunrath refer to a work that is published as an “Amphitheatre”? This essay aims to answer this question by examining the spatial and material aspect of the book, or what we might call its architecture, as well as the historical context in which Khunrath published his magnum opus. In so doing, attention is shifted from the purely literary qualities of Khunrath’s writing (which have already been highlighted by others) to the architectural qualities that define the book as an “analogous space.” In addition, the author speculates on the role of drawing as a means to literally draw forth and visualize these qualities that allow the book to be viewed, beyond a mere metaphorical understanding of the term, as an amphitheatre in the medium of print.
Issue Date:2012
Publisher:Johns Hopkins University Press and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Citation Info:In Library Trends 61 (2) Fall 2012: 347-370.
Publication Status:published or submitted for publication
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-03-31

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