Scribbledehobble: The Ur-Workbook for Finnegans Wake

By James Joyce; Thomas E. Connolly | Go to book overview
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BELL ROMAN, the typeface in which this book is set, was cut by Richard Austin in 1788 and was the first issue of the John Bell Letter-Foundry in London. It is one of a class of 18th Century faces which illustrate the transition from the "Old Style" to the "Modern" taste in type design. Other so-called "Transitionals" are Baskerville, Fournier, and William Martin's Bulmer types.

Often imperfect in cutting and alignment, Old Style faces have in them something of the warmth and force of a humanistic era. The Moderns were lighter in color and were characterized by sudden weight transitions, demonstrating the influence of the pointed, flexible pen and the engraver's burin. Their delicacy implied a more sophisticated printing technology and heralded a century of growing refinement. Attenuated and ideal, they mirrored the neo-classic revival in art and architecture.

The first and most radical Modern was cut by Firmin Didot about 1785 and is thought to have influenced Austin's later design. However, while BELL has the flat serifs and vertical accent of the new style, it avoids the delicate (and very fragile) hairlines and abrupt stress which in highly mannered examples dismay the printer and dazzle the reading eye.

This book was composed, printed, and bound by KINGSPORT PRESS, INC., Kingsport, Tennessee. MEAD PAPERS, INC., DAYTON, OHIO, manufactured the paper. The typography and binding designs are by GUY FLEMING.


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Scribbledehobble: The Ur-Workbook for Finnegans Wake


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