In 1494, humanist Sebastian Brant published Das Narrenschiff, or The Ship of Fools, a moralistic poem written in the German language. In it, Brant described 110 assorted follies and vices, each undertaken by a different fool. Each sin or vice was interpreted by a stunning woodcut, many believed to be the work of Albrecht Dürer. In 1497, Johann Bergmann von Olpe printed a later edition in Latin, known as Stultifera Navis, which is owned by the UH Libraries.
These detailed copper plate engravings depict the arrival of the Spaniards in the New World and their encounters with native peoples. They are taken from the sixteenth century book Americae, volume IV of Theodor de Bry’s Grandes Voyages series, a collection which gave many Europeans their first visual representations of North America.
The History of Four-Footed Beasts and Serpents (1658) by Edward Topsell depicts mammals and reptiles, both real and fantastical, in detailed woodcuts. Topsell originally published his illustrated Historie of Foure-footed Beastes, Describing the True and Lively Figure of Every Beast, in 1607. In 1608 he followed it with The Historie of Serpents; Or the Second Booke of Living Creatures. In 1658, twenty years after his death, Topsell’s zoological books were reissued together.
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