à la coque
Arcinoto è L’uomo della folla di E.A. Poe, come nota la traduzione che ne fece Baudelaire; meno noto il riferimento bibliografico contenuto nella chiusa del racconto (“Le pire cœur du monde est un livre plus rebutant que le Hortulus animae, et peut-être est-ce une des grandes miséricordes de Dieu que es lässt sich nicht lesen, – qu’il ne se laisse pas lire”, anche se ora wikipedia dà una mano); e finora ignoto era donde Poe l’avesse preso. Ora si sa: dal saggetto di I. D’Israeli Religious Indecencies, uscito nel 1790 in Curiosities of Literature:
In the fifteenth century was published a little book of ‘prayers’ accompanied by ‘figures’, both of a very uncommon nature for a religious publication. It is entitled Hortulus Animae cum Oratiunculis aliquibus superadditis quae in prioribus Libris non habentur. It is a small octavo en lettres Gothiques printed by John Grunninger, 1500. “A garden”, says the author “which abounds with flowers for the pleasure of the soul”; but they are full of poison. In spite of his fine promises, the chief part of these meditations are as puerile as they are superstitious. This we might excuse, because the ignorance and superstition of the times allowed such things; but the figures which accompany this work are to be condemned in all ages; one represents Saint Ursula and some of her eleven thousand virgins, with all the licentious inventions of an Aretine. What strikes the ear does not so much irritate the senses, observes the sage Horace, as what is presented in all its nudity to the eye. One of these designs is only ridiculous: David is represented as examining Bathsheba bathing, while Cupid hovering throws his dart, and with a malicious smile triumphs in his success. We have had many gross anachronisms in similar designs. There is a laughable picture in a village in Holland, in which Abraham appears ready to sacrifice his son Isaac by a loaded blunderbuss; but his pious intention is entirely frustrated by an angel urining in the pan. In another painting, the Virgin receives the annunciation of the angel Gabriel with a huge chaplet of beads tied round her waist, reading her own offices, and kneeling before a crucifix; another happy invention, to be seen on an altar-piece at Worms, is that in which the Virgin throws Jesus in the hopper of a mill, while from the other side he issues changed into little morsels of bread, with which the priests feast the people. Matthison, a modern traveller, describes a picture in a church at Constance, called the Conception of the Holy Virgin. An old man lies on a cloud, whence he darts out a vast beam, which passes through a dove hovering just below; at the end of a beam appears a large transparent egg, in which egg is seen a child in swaddling clothes with a glory round it. Mary sits leaning in an arm chair, and opens her mouth to receive the egg.