Academic journal article Printing History

Simon Loxley. Type: The Secret History of Letters

Academic journal article Printing History

Simon Loxley. Type: The Secret History of Letters

Article excerpt

SIMON LOXLEY. Type: The Secret History of Letters. London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2005 (first printed 2004). viii, 248 pp. ISBN 1 85043 397 6. 24.50 [pounds sterling] (hardback); 9.99 [pounds sterling] (paperback).

Typography has rare been seen as a glamorous subject, but Simon Loxley, an English designer and teacher, does his verybest to make it seem hip and sexy. All the usual suspects are here (Caslon, Baskerville, Gill, Goudy, Johnston, Morison, and the like), along with a few names that will be less familiar to some readers (Herb Lubalin, Neville Brody), and they are treated with a casual, breezy tone not usually encountered in the world of printing history. Stanley Morison and Beatrice Warde are "the Fred and Ginger of Monotype" (p.130); Emery Walker and T. J. Cobden-Sanderson are "a kind of Laurel and Hardy of fine printing" (p. 86); Lida Lopes Cardozo's first encounter with David Kindersley is compared with that of John Lennon and Yoko Ono (p. 181). Several of the chapters begin with quasi-novelistic narratives (e.g., "The catacombs of Christ Church, normally a silent chamber of the dead, were, on this spring morning in 1893, filled with the living" [p. 43]) that sound suspiciously like "It was a dark and stormy night. …

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