A Century for the Century: Fine Printed Books from 1900 to 1999

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David R. Godine Publisher, 2004 - Literary Criticism - 110 pages
These lists are usually generated in neat doses of one hundred titles. Here then (at least in the opinions of Messrs. Hutner and Kelly) are the hundred greatest printed books of the twentieth century. Given another pair of editors, you d probably be offered a different list, but this one serves and serves well, for it concentrates not only on the recognized chestnuts, but also lesser-known, and often exceedingly récherché volumes that have left their mark. It is noteworthy that only two books in the survey were printed by offset; the rest are all letterpress. And although America is strongly represented, there are also selections from Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands, England, Wales and Switzerland. Every book is illustrated in fine line duotone, many in color, and best of all, the captions that accompanied the original Grolier exhibit have been transcribed intact. In their two prefatory essays, Hutner has provided a convincing defense of his choices (1900 1948), and Kelly, a spirited apologia for his (1949 1999). Joe Blumenthal ended his survey of fine printing in America with the observation that the art of the book, one of the slender graces of civilization, works its charm on each new generation. This survey, while admittedly neither comprehensive nor definitive, provides an excellent overview of fine printing over the past hundred years. Despite Morison s contention that typography is the most conservative of all the arts, the form of the book continues to mutate, evolve, and advance. If we are to overcome the complexities of a digital age, we would do well to appreciate, if not embrace, that heritage. -- Amazon.com.

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About the author (2004)

Martin Hutner has served as a president of the American Printing History Association, a board member of the Grolier Club, and a curator at the Houghton Library. Jerry Kelly is a calligrapher, book designer, and type designer; his work has been honored more than thirty times for the AIGA "Fifty Books of the Year." In 2015 he was presented with the 28th Goudy Award from RIT. Before starting his own design business in 1998, Kelly was Vice President of The Stinehour Press, preceded by a decade as designer at A. Colish. Kelly has taught typography at Pratt Institute and Parsons School of Design in New York. Kelly has served as Chairman of the American Printing History Association, President of The Typophiles, and has written several books on calligraphy and typography, most recently Type Revivals.

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