Wednesday, September 21, 2011

10. Book design from the Middle Ages to the future

The University of Antwerp is organizing the conference Book Design from the Middle Ages to the Future on Thursday 29 and Friday 30 September 2011. It will be preceded by the Twelfth Miræus Lecture on Wednesday 28 September in the Nottebohm Hall of the Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience. The lecture will be held by Yuri Cowan (Ghent University) and is entitled 'The Mirror of Everyday Life: Morris' Book Collecting and the Kelmscott Press'. This lecture, according to the programme, will draw on original research into Morris's collecting practices to chart the influence of his library on his and his collaborators' theories in the field of book design.

A paper by Gerard Unger also mentions Morris, whose revival of Jenson's type influenced modern typography and Unger poses the question: 'Does typography on screens need a new William Morris?'

Ricketts's Defence (1899) among other credo's, including several editions of Cobden-Sanderson's The Ideal Book, published by Frederic W. Goudy, G.A. Beale, the Milton S. Eisenhower Library and Gallery 303.

In my own paper, 'Reprinting the Ideals of the Private Press', I will mention almost all private presses from the 1890s, including the Vale Press and the Doves Press. I will talk about a specific group of publications, the private press credos, and especially about their position between nineteenth-century printers' manuals and twentieth-century typographic manifestos.

Ricketts's Defence of the Revival of Printing is among these credos, as is The Ideal Book, the famous tract written by T.J. Cobden-Sanderson. Ricketts's book was reprinted a few times, but Cobden-Sanderson's text, which was far more visionary and less practical than that of Ricketts, was translated, reprinted and summarized many times and extracts from the text appeared in several fine editions.