A meta/historical book produced by
the History & Future of the Book class during half-block of 2012
12 pages, soft cover, pamphlet stitch
Letterpress printed from handset lead and wood type
Edition of 100
The History & Future of the Book class, which is ending today with a wayzgoose, was taught by librarians Jessy Randall and Steve Lawson. The class, as you might have guessed, dealt with the changing forms and roles of the book in culture, in the past and in our current time. The class also involved this project at The Press. As usual, the students decided the parameters of the project (letting them choose always gives them more ownership of the project and allows for a more significant engagement—they’re not just doing an assignment, but actually making something that they are invested in). They decided on a traditional codex book, but to explore and deconstruct that form by looking at its parts and qualities and researching and writing short texts about those parts. Their meta-text was then placed in the book where the pieces described would usually go. For research, writing, and typesetting the class was divided into pairs (it was a large class—24 students) based on what parts or subjects they were interested in researching. They were given total license as to what their text would be and what information it would contain. As you can see in the book above, some of the texts are straightforward descriptions, while others are poems or “notes” from the book itself. After the text was written, they set it in lead type, and then we printed the book in teams of four, working in shifts over a two day period. Yesterday afternoon we all got together and did the binding as a group.
Because the class was the history and future of the book, we also decided to add a digital component to the project, shown above. So the book exists both as a limited edition letterpress book and as a theoretically infinite edition, readable, shareable, and downloadable ebook.