10 × 12 × 2 in
University of Wisconsin, Kohler Art Library
Artist’s book, letterpress, hand-sewn coptic stitch, 24 pages, 5 x 10 inches. Published by Hermetic Press. Edition of 50.
Edward Edward was conceived as a modest artists’ book that would incorporate features of both the traditional private press book, with its emphasis on fine typography, letterpress printing, and scholarship, along with an innovative and kinetic, if not eccentric, design, resulting in a quirky book that exemplifies the best of both genres.
The choice of typeface: the combination of the 20th-century advertising typeface Aurora Bold Condensed with a 9th-century uncial, the calligrapher, Arthur Baker’s, Visigoth.
Rather than emulating damaged type by use of a Photoshop filter, a reversal of verisimiltude in the scanning of worn, but original 16th-century title page rules, and the subsequent dropping in of initial letters in the manner of the hand-rubricated book.
The printing of rectos only in order to prevent excessive show-through because of the somewhat translucent and lighter-weight Arches Wove Text, a paper choice necessitated by the need for flexibility of the narrow page in accommodation of the narrow set-width of the Aurora Bold Condensed.
The movement of stanza placement along the vertical axis to suggest the emotional force of the dialogue between mother and son, and the final placement of the last stanza to coincide with the anguished cry of the face in the illustration. This movement is further accented by random placement of the vertical rules throughout the pages, culminating in the rules on the illustration page bleeding top and bottom.
The use of an old-fashioned orangy printer’s red (Pantone 166) in place of the more common tendency in contemporary books of the American Reds (Pantone 185-187). And the further use of the second color throughout the book to accentuate the Visigoth and rules.
The extensive research that went into the correct usage of the Old-English thornand the practice of 17th-century printers’ substitution of the letters y or z for it; and, as explained in the back-matter note, the printer’s finally settling on the use of letter z, an eccentric decision based on the original editor’s comment regarding the “unusual orthography of the poem.”
The use of the artwork in a dynamic fashion, the title page image foreshadowing stanza five of the poem “the warldis”; and the final image with the slashes of red cutting through the image (see close-up image 5) accentuating both the darkness of the poem and the Aurora Bold Condensed as well as blood and the color of the Visigoth.