Technique & Design
in the History of Printing
26 Essays

By Frans A. Janssen
Utrecht Studies in the History of Cartography, Vol III
November 2004
Hes & De Graaf Publishers
ISBN: 9061942896
380 pages, Illustrated, 7 ¼” x 10”
$337.50 Hardcover


In twenty-sex essays, this book describes some of the developments in the study of the history of the printed book made during recent decades. The history of book production, that is to say, the techniques of type-setting and printing, the printing types and printing process, in short all the activities within a printing house, has always played an important part in the study of book history. Since 1980 these topics have extended to include typographical design, which fell under the responsibility of the same people as the production process itself.

Thus the connection was laid between the role of the technique of transmitting texts through printing and that of the typographical design of the texts. A number of these selected essays deal with the history of production techniques. Amongst these there is an analysis of the technical innovations made by the printers Blaeu and Didot, as well as those made by the type cutter Fleischman; likewise various eighteenth and nineteenth century technical manuals for type setting and printing are introduced and discussed. The essays concerning the layout of printed books primarily discuss fifteenth and sixteenth century edition, covering, amongst other things, the origins and appearance of the intended paragraph during that period.

Alongside these two groups of essays, a number of articles deal with book collectors and libraries as well as the survival of books in general. The neo-platonic and hermetic backgrounds of some of these collections and individual books are discussed. Many of the essays touch upon the rich Dutch and Flemish typographical history, here presented to an international public. Some of these essays appear for the first time in English, some have never been published before. All have been thoroughly rewritten, corrected, expanded and brought up-to-date for this publication; the relevant literature in the notes has been revised and supplemented. An extensive index of names and subjects concludes the book.

History of Technology

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