Wednesday, March 11, 2015

the very old is now

a glimpse of Gill Sans Greek as used in Peter Koch's edition of Herakleitos, translated by Guy Davenport, and which type I have just bought from Offizin Parnassia - no lower case, no accents, like most ancient stone inscriptions and papyrus documents, and closest therefore to some of the oldest Western documents we can read - Guy Davenport says Herakleitos's "presence as a spirit in both modern poetry (Eliot, Pound, William Carlos Williams, Hopkins) and modern physics makes him peculiarly a twentieth-century guide" - the type does not have the kind of inscriptional characteristics of ancient stone-cutting that went into the late Dan Carr's wonderful Parmenides metal type (of which I have no picture, I'm sorry to say, and nor does it seem to be available now, and nor does the closest thing to it, Christopher Stinehour's digital Diogenes Greek and the variant Diogenes Text Greek - Gill's Greek is what they call 'monoline' where the line of the letter is the same width thruout, whereas the lines of both Stinehour's & Carr's types are slightly flared at the outer ends, showing a much closer relationship to the original chisel-cut letters from which they are derived - in any case, examples can be seen in one of the great books on book-making in the current era, Carving the Elements : A Companion to the Fragments of Parmenides, with essays by everyone involved: Peter Koch (printer/publisher), Robert Bringhurst (translator), Dan Carr (metal type designer & cutter), Christopher Stinehour (letter-carver & digital type designer), Daniel Kelm (bookbinder), Peggy Gotthold (bookbinder), Richard Wagener (wood engraver) - and while there is no essay by him, Richard Seibert was also a compositor in the project - Gill's Greek, however, remains to my eye very elegant and I look forward to making word in it, then making book -