The rescue will begin in its own time

I was really impressed by this illustration for the June 29 issue of The New Yorker magazine by Matt Willey. It accompanies ‘The Rescue Will Begin in Its Own Time‘, a series of short pieces by Franz Kafka that have not been published in English before, and that will appear this fall in the New Directions book The Lost Writings.

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Italian Old Style

Frederic Goudy’s Italian Old Style typeface as published in the Lanston Monotype Machine Company’s Italian Old Style, A New Type by Frederic W. Goudy, designed by the eminent American typographer and type and book designer Bruce Rogers and printed in Mount Vernon, N.Y., in a second edition of 11,000 copies by William Edwin Rudge in 1924.

Italian Old Style was designed by Goudy for Lanston Monotype of Philadelphia in 1924, and is based on early Venetian types of the latter part of the fifteenth century. In the printer’s note, Bruce Rogers observes that the new typeface “reminds me most strongly and admirably of Ratdolt’s fine Roman.” To present the type, Rogers chose text from English bibliographer Thomas Frognall Dibdin’s 1817 dialogue, The Bibliographical Decameron, stating that:

The conversation … was chosen partly for its own pleasant quality and partly because of its appropriateness to the purpose of this pamphlet… . the charm of [Dibdin’s] style is as engaging as ever and his taste in printing as unimpeachable; and this brief account of seven early Venetian printers, with its islands of text and oceans of commentary, supplies just the right material for displaying Mr. Goudy’s Italian Old Style under various requirements of composition.

For the type specimen displays, Rogers selects the traditional phrase “A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” to present the Roman fonts, but for the italics he used the amusing variations on the phrase “Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs before five dozen FOXY JUDGES CRACK VALUABLE PEACH WINE & QUIZ ME.”



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Where We Are Now


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We are in this together

Telluride is a small town nestled in heart of Colorado’s majestic San Juan Mountains. It’s also one of North America’s best ski resorts. I’ve only visited during the late spring, so I don’t know much about the winter sports scene, but I can attest to the town’s beauty and charm. Artist Tavares Strachan is in the process of creating a huge neon light sculpture to grace the mountainside above Telluride. The glowing  pink installation will spans 50 feet at its widest point and be 10 feet off the ground. The message of the work, We are in the together has poignant resonance in these difficult times. Early September is the target date for the installation’s unveiling.

The neon words “We are in this together” will be viewed by riding the free gondola that transports  visitors more than 10,000 feet and 8 miles up the mountain from Telluride to Mountain Village.  Starting in September, the work will glow with varying degrees of brightness every day for 18 months.

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An Honor Without Irony

People look and photograph the new statue of American writer Jerome David Salinger in Paminklas, Lithuania, Friday, June 19, 2020. J.D. Salinger, the American writer best known for his 1951 novel “The Catcher in the Rye,” has been honored with a statue in a rye field, near the Lithuanian village where his ancestors lived. (AP Photo/Vladas Sciavinskas)

Last week, an outdoor sculpture honoring the iconic American author J.D. Salinger was dedicated on a hillside near his family’s ancestral home in Lithuania. The artwork celebrates the writer’s most acclaimed novel The Catcher in the Rye. Ironically, Salinger’s 1951 bildungsroman of adolescent angst was banned in Lithuania until the 1990s.

The recorded history of the Salinger family in this area goes back to the early 19th century when this region was still part of Czarist Russia. There’s documentary evidence that the writer’s great grandfather lived in the nearby village of Sudargas in the 1830s. In all likelihood, any of Salinger’s remaining relatives were murdered either by the Nazis during World War II, or even earlier by Lithuanians or Russians during 19th century anti-Semitic pogroms.

The sculpture is of a human silhouette cut out in a steel plate that is bent before a void. The metal plate is attached to a concrete block that carries the name J.D. Salinger above a rye field printed on the side of the block that is sticking out from a hill surrounded by a forest.


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fools elect fools

Dream Song 46 John Berryman


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Bookseller’s Lament

As a bookseller and collector, I occasionally lament the sale of a book. Sometimes it’s because I undervalued a title, but more often it’s nostalgia for the missing volume from my shelves. The other day I stumbled on a reference to a particularly atmospheric book of black and white photographs from Prague that were taken during the first part of the 20th century up to the time of the German occupation in 1939. Praha ve fotografii, (Czech Graphics Union, Prague, 1940,) is a stunning collection of 208 images by Karel Plicka, who was known as the Ansel Adams of Czechoslovakia.

During his  long and celebrated career, Plicka published several photography collections. Among them are:
Prague in Pictures (Praha ve fotografii)Czech Graphics Union, Prague, 1940,
Beautiful Motherland (Vlast Libezna)xxxx, Prague, 19xx,
The Prague Castle (Prazsky Hrad)Orbis, Prague, 1962,
VltavaOrbis, Prague, 1965,
Czechoslovakia (Ceskoslovensko)Orbis, Prague, 1974,
Walks in Prague (Prochazky Prahou) xxxx, Prague, 19xx, with Emanuel Poche,
Slovakia (Slovensko) Artia, Prague, 1959.

His urban photography revealed Prague in all of its medieval,baroque, neo-classical, and art nouveau splendor while capturing the mysterious allure of the historic city. My copy of Praha ve fotografii held special resonance for me because I discovered the first edition copy on my initial visit to Prague not long after the Velvet Revolution. That Prague bears little resemblance to the Disney-fied Czech capital that I found during subsequent time in the city.


These images from Plicka’s excellent book are a reminder of what was lost during the Communist era and through contemporary modernization and overtourism.


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Novel Problems


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Another Lazy Caturday



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Reading Is Fundamental

I just ran across these oldschool posters that were created by the American Library Association to encourage young people to read more. I guess that they were aiming for Star Wars and Back to the Future fans.

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