Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Annotated Bibliography: History of Typography, 1450-1700

Just a quick definition: what is typography?  " is not merely the shapes of letters and the manner of making them that requires study but also their size, the spacing between lines, the size and proportion of the printed page..."  (B.L. Ullman, The origin and development of humanistic script, 1960)
 Included is my bibliography with information on the author, publisher, and year. There is a short synopsis on each source and in brackets at the end of each annotation, I include how I found the source and what it was like to consult it in print.

Ars Typographica Volume III, July 1926, No. 1 (Douglas C. McMurtrie, Inc. Publishers.) In this periodical, there is an article by Konrad Haeblar which explores early typefounding, or the commerce in finished cast types created independent of individual printing offices, especially in Lyons, Paris, and the Netherlands. Haeblar also discusses printers of this period who are expressly designated as typefounders or type engravers. There are also other articles entitled “Fifteenth Century Papermaking” and “Printers’ Devices in Dutch Incunabula”. [This source was obtained from the appendix in Bringhurst’s book The Elements of Typographic Style, cited below. I knew the source was a periodical, but after checking the shelves, it wasn’t there. I then asked at a reference desk, and it was retrieved from “the dungeon” or from storage because it was as old as 1926. The periodical itself is a tall, thin book which contains large lettering and colored illuminations and illustrations, reminiscent of early printed texts. At the back of the book, there is a section entitled “Abstracts & Reviews” which is summarizes other articles or books, most of which are German. From here I wanted to examine the article “The Gutenberg Bible as a Typographical Monument” by Andrew Keogh in the Yale University Library Gazette, but it wasn’t available in our library. And I even tried to search on Yale’s University Library site, and it wasn’t there.]

Bringhurst, Robert. The Elements of Typographic Style. (Hartley & Marks Publishers, 1992.) This book addresses the aesthetics of typography with regards to rhythm proportion, and harmony in choosing and combining type; designing pages; using section heads, subheads, footnotes, and tables. Bringhurst devotes an entire chapter to the historical interlude of artistic and practical aspects of typography from the invention of the printing press to digital typography. [I obtained this book through an online bibliography of the history of typefaces in print, which contained many useful and informative sources. This book also had an appendix entitled “Further Reading” which greatly aided my search for other print sources by categorizing them according to subject and then medium.]

Burnhill, Peter. Type spaces: in-house norms in the typography of Aldus Manutius. (Hyphen Press, 2003) Burnhill deeply studies the typography of Aldus Manutius who published works in Venice in the early 16th century.  Manutius’s introduction of Greek- and Latin-script cursive styles of letter and his implementation of print all in one size of type as revolutionary ideas are discussed. Burnhill uses many of Manutius’s works as examples of spatial and aesthetic qualities in print. [I obtained this book from the reference book A Book of Type and Design by Oldřich Hlavsa. There is a timeline in the book that goes year by year detailing the development of typography. Manutius is cited in 1495, 1499, and 1500 as a prominent player in printed works.]

Fairbank, Alfred. A Book of Scripts. (Penguin Books Ltd., 1949) This is a small book with an extensive history of handwriting and the spacing of alphabets and lettering. Fairbank takes this history through the invention of print, showing the transition of types and fonts from being handwritten to being mechanical. Also, more than half the book is comprised of pictures, both of handwritten types and then their printed successors. The dates range from a Roman inscription cut into stone in 114 A.D. to the University of London Press in 1935. [This source was obtained from the reference of Fairbank’s name in the foreword of An Introduction to the History of Printing Types by Geoffrey Dowding. I found Dowding’s book at the library Tuesday night, but it was misplaced Wednesday morning, so I couldn’t analyze it to make a separate entry for his work in this bibliography.]

Steinberg, S.H. Five Hundred Years of Printing: new edition revised by John Trevitt. (Penguin Books and Oak Noll Press and The British Library, 1996) This is a standard book on all things printing. It breaks up the history of printing into the first century of printing, 1450-1550, the era of consolidation, 1550-1800, the nineteenth century, 1800-1900, 1900-1955, and the postwar world. In each, Steinberg discusses the practicalities of printing, such as the roles of printing within society and the people involved in printing, along with the aesthetics of printing, the type design that characterized each time period. [This book was obtained by simply searching the shelves. Most of my books had come from the call number Z 250, so I searched around that area, and found this book which turned out to be a standard for all books on the history of print.]

1 comment:

  1. I was actually going to do this same topic but you beat me to it! I'm kind of interested in this topic and the evolution of fonts. I mentioned this in my post about the KJV exhibit but it seems like the longer printing was around the more efficent and easier to read it became.