A Snail’s Eye
A Snail’s Eye
This introductory chapter examines the haptic eye of the snail described on Francesco Colonna’s novel Songe de Poliphile. The chapter outlines two guiding lines of discussion which underlie the relationship between poetry and topography. The first is that during the Age of Discovery in Renaissance France, the eye wanders about and literally touches a world of unforeseen expanse. The errant eye then was enmeshed and lost in the environment. Endowed with a sense of tactility, it moves forward and backward, now alert and then withdrawn, about and around its ambient world. The second is that the poet’s vision is much like that of the topographer who sees, discerns, and orders the world in consort with the art of illustration. The poet is like a cartographer with the task to describe the world by mixing images, visual designs, and both aural and optical traits of language.
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