Emblems and Imprese

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

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The emblem, and its associated form, the


or personal emblem, are part of a powerful, pervasive phenomenon of word-image relations which prevailed in Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Indeed, the construction of emblems individually and as part of collections, and the use of the emblematic device in literary pictorialism, amounted to a long-lived fad which died out or became associated with children’s literature only in the eighteenth century.

In 1419 a manuscript of hieroglyphics supposedly written by the mythic Horus Apollo was discovered at Andros (it was published at Venice in 1505). Thought to be pre-Mosaic Egyptian priestly wisdom at a time when hieroglyphs were still misunderstood as ideographic rather than as phonetic, the Horapollo manuscript was in fact

1494 words

Citation: Preston, Claire. "Emblems and Imprese". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 February 2003 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=325, accessed 16 July 2024.]

325 Emblems and Imprese 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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