http://www.randomhouse.com/bantamdell/t ... outhp.html
The title "Hypnerotomachia" is an invented word drawn from the Greek roots for "sleep" (as in "hypnotize"), "love/lust" (as in "erotic"), and "struggle/strife" (as in "naumachia," the mock sea-fights held by ancient Romans). The title thus literally means something like "Struggle for love in a dream," and describes what the main character, Poliphilo, spends the entire story doing: searching for his beloved in a dream.
Are secret codes really buried in the text of the Hypnerotomachia?
Yes. The disagreement among scholars is simply, how many? One of the Hypnerotomachia's mysteries is that its author never explicitly gives his name, but his identity seems to be revealed when the first letter of every chapter is connected to the next: the letters form the Latin message "Poliam Frater Franciscus Columna Peramavit," meaning "Brother Francesco Colonna Loved Polia Tremendously." (Polia is the name of the main female character in the Hypnerotomachia.) In addition to this hidden acrostic message, the entire text of the book is written in a hybrid of languages that was considered gratuitously complex even in its own day. When these facts are combined with the strangeness of certain elements in the story - the detailed attention to the dimensions and features of buildings the protagonist sees, not to mention the protagonist's sexual feelings toward those buildings - it's easy to see why some readers believe there must be a hidden subtext.
Note that Le Serpent Rouge
is told in the form of a dream, also.
I'm not on very good terms with the author, but this is one of the best articles in English dealing with the Song of Poliphile and its (supposed) links to the Angelic Society.
One other thing:
We have just got our hands on a previously unknown original edition of La Vraie Langue Celtique by Henri Boudet. Amazingly, this example bears the following inscription: "A G. d'Orcet, mon indéfectible amitié. H. Boudet"... [To G. d'Orcet, my constant friend].
Grasset d'Orcet was a student at Juilly college in the Seine et Marne departement. His mentor was Abbé Constant, who later became the famous occultist, Eliphas Lévi. Lévi was employed by the head of the establishment who at this time was Abbé Henri Boisnormand de Bonnechose (1800-1883), who in turn became Bishop of Carcassonne at the time of the Rennes-le-Château affair.
Grasset d'Orcet is known for his numerous works on esoteric matters and mysterious archaeology, but also on cryptography and on phonetic cabala. This link which we have just established with the priest of Rennes les Bains may shed new light on Boudet's works and on the theory that his controversial book was a coded document.
Unjustly forgotten during the first part of the 20th century, despite an eloquent obituary in the Revue Britannique (January 1901), he was plagiarised abusively and shamefully by Joséphin Péladan in Le secret des maîtrises, la clé de Rabelais (was Péladan the only one to do this?!). Today Claude-Sosthème Grasset d'Orcet is finally acknowledged as an authority, as testified to by the hermeticists and occultists who have mentioned him in their works. The contents of Grasset d'Orcet's works certainly remain difficult to understand and only address a very limited and well-informed audience. Furthermore, the author creates strange rules for reading his works, which consist mainly of hiding, through the use of apparantly simple phrases, the real meaning of the text. In other words, most of Grasset's works make use of cryptography and also show certain aspects of hermeticism.
We should mention here the first authors who cited Grasset d'Orcet. We think initially of a figure well known to the Theosophists of the belle époque, Isabel Cooper-Oakley (1854-1914), and of her book Mystical Traditions, which was published in a French edition in 1911; then of Paul Vulliaud (1875-1950) and his La Kabbale Juive (1923); Probst-Biraben, a so-called "on the edge" mason who published Rabelais et le secret de Pantagruel in 1949, partly revisiting the work of Péladan. Nevertheless, we had to wait until the 1970's and 1980's until the work of Grasset d'Orcet was finally examined by two alchemists: Eugène Canseliet and his real or imaginary master Fulcanelli, who says of Grasset in his successful book Le Mystère des Cathédrales:
"...We understand that the inscription must be in a secret language, that is to say the language of the gods or language of the birds, and that one must discover its meaning using the rules of Diplomacy. Several authors, and especially Grasset d'Orcet, in his analysis of the Songe de Polyphile..."
Valérie Gentil also presented a thesis at the University of Bordeaux and Bernard Allieu made Grasset d'Orcet his trusty steed in collecting and assembling his Matériaux Cryptographiques, before publishing these as a first volume in 1976. Of course the chapters are dedicated to the Le Noble Savoir, Rabelais and the first four books of the Pantagruel, the gods on the streets, the Gouliards, the Songe de Poliphile, etc... We should also mention Jean-Claude Drouin, who created a very interesting and educational portrait of Grasset d'Orcet in the periodical Politica Hermetica (n°3) published by Jean-Pierre Laurant.
The language of the birds - or language of the gods - made its way through history and influenced certain modern authors in terms of decoding, alchemy and symbolism. Grasset d'Orcet was cited more and more and his special linguistics, in the form of the cabalistic translation of names, was successful. Some people see, or believe that they find his real identity in the works of Fulcanelli! Others, who are more specialised in the mystery of Rennes-le-Château and its priest Bérenger Saunière, put emphasis on Abbé Henri Boudet, a name brought up often in this story, who wrote in 1886 a most curious work, La vraie langue celtique et le Cromleck de Rennes-les-Bains.
Rightly, there are some, believing that there was some hidden message to find in Boudet's work, who asked whether the latter had not been influenced by Grasset d'Orcet. As far as this is concerned, but without a definite answer for the moment, one could have considered a hypothetical link between the two men, but without definite proof it was wiser to not go off into the realms of speculation. Today, finally and for the first time, we have the proof that these two unusual figures knew one another. Better still, on reading the written dedication from Abbé Boudet to Grasset d'Orcet there is mention of a "constant friendship": That is what is stated!
Based on this indisputible fact, we would dare to consider that not everything has yet been told about Boudet and that an aspect of this learned priest of Rennes les Bains remains to be discovered.
As for his book, despite certain controversy amongst those who suggest that the work of the priest shows a total ignorance of philology and those who claim that the Vrai Langue Celtique reveals a system of coding derived from Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), well-known author of Gulliver's Travels and of a book on the Ars Punica [art of punning], we think that he should be looked at differently and properly re-examined. The future will tell us!