Abstract It is generally understood that the American typographer Bruce Rogers (1870–1957) sought to imitate the typography of the past in an attempt to revive historical styles of past original works, as well as to reanimate the aesthetic sensibilities that were of their moment. This was especially the case where Rogers designed books for the Grolier Club, a private bibliographic society in New York City (established in 1884). In this article, I seek to interrogate the assessment of Rogers’ design of books in light of his recognition that works of the past engendered dissatisfaction. Rogers’ typographic design, what he referred to as ‘allusive typography’, sought to address this perceived impoverishment in reconstitutions of past works to meet the aspirations and anxieties of early twentieth-century traditionalist typography. Introduction In 1909, the American typographer Bruce Rogers (1870–1957) designed a translation of August Bernard’s Geoffrey Tory, Painter and Engraver, First Royal Printer, Reformer of Orthography and Typography under François I: An Account of his Life and Works for Houghton Mifflin’s Riverside Press . In his contribution to the ‘Printer’s Preface’, co-written with the translator George Ives, Rogers remarked on the ‘method of reproduction’ of the illustrations found in the translated volume. He cautioned, ‘Notwithstanding some inevitable slight divergences of line, this method [of redrawing from photographs] preserves with far greater faithfulness the spirit and effect of the original prints...’. Departing from the ‘usual’ methods of facsimile reproduction, Rogers corrected the imperfections of early printed decorations. These were noticeable flaws in printing that resulted from what Rogers took to have been the ‘hands of inferior printers’.1 Hand-drawn remedies performed on Tory’s decorations, and adjustments to better integrate them into Bernard’s text, were indicative of Rogers’ attitude toward past works of typography. Original designs were the basis for perfected forms that could only be attained at some future moment, well beyond their inaugural impressions. This would become more apparent where Rogers designed books for the Grolier Club, a private bibliographic society in New York City (established in1884). As indicated in the Grolier Club’s announcement for the publication of Rogers’ design of a translation of Tory’s Champ Fleury, his efforts ‘more nearly approximat[ed] the original designs as they were meant to appear...’.2 Rogers referred to his acts of restorative design as ‘allusive typography’. Fig 1. View largeDownload slide Bruce Rogers, page from August Bernard’s Geofroy Tory, 1909 (courtesy of the Newberry Library, Chicago). Fig 1. View largeDownload slide Bruce Rogers, page from August Bernard’s Geofroy Tory, 1909 (courtesy of the Newberry Library, Chicago). In Rogers’ hands, allusive typography was neither period-specific in its reference to the historical moment of the text, nor was it a ‘modernistic’ remaking of the text for his own time (that is, a result of applying a modern style to a traditional form).3 Both period-specificity and avant-garde styling, as Rogers explained, were ‘extreme instances’, that he undertook to avoid at all costs. By ‘extreme instances’, he meant to indicate what he found most troubling in contemporary typography and design, specifically ‘our modern exaggeration of almost everything’.4 Rogers put it this way, in his 1938 address to members of the Grolier Club: ‘[I]t isn’t the modernity of modernistic books and types that I dislike; it is the visual ugliness of most of them’.5 Allusive typography occupied a dialectical middle ground.6 It captured the complexities and finely drawn distinctions of traditionalist typography through the operation of ‘subtle discriminations’ and creative imagination.7 The allusive typographer possessed an antiquarian’s awareness of the past embedded in the present or an appreciation of what Daniel Berkeley Updike referred to as, ‘survivals’.8 In his realization, Rogers’ design work can be seen to unsettle the idea of a strictly backward-looking definition of typographic revival as an undistorted mirror of the past in book design. Indeed, there was plenty of distortion inherent to allusive typography, especially where Rogers hoped that his designs would have ‘pleased the author of the work that I had in hand, by the form which I gave it’.9 Allusive typography, according to Rogers, recognized that works of the past originated in dissatisfaction, and thus he sought to rectify their impoverished state by enriching the material form of the work in his present. In order to coax out the complexities of allusive typography’s imagined intimacy with the past, I posit that a contemporary work of allusive typography must have reconceived aspects of the temporal and material frameworks that made the original the original that it was (such as a misrecognition of the once-living traditions and historical conventions within which it flourished).10 This reconception, I will argue, took its formal cues from an imagined intimacy or identification with the intentions of the early modern typographer. In the case argued here, I will focus exclusively on Tory’s Champ Fleury, first published in 1529, and the Grolier Club’s edition, published in 1927. The imagined intimacy or the structure of identification demonstrated by the allusive typographer embodied an awareness of how he was situated in relation to a past from which the original issued, and how his design exhibited a sensitivity to a past work’s re-emergence into a contemporary moment. In what remains of this this essay, I will argue that reference to a work from the past does a good deal more than conserve the erstwhile values of typographic tradition. Allusive typography was more than an appropriation of the past. I claim that Rogers imagined Tory’s pleasure in accordance with his own desire to confront the perceived threat of the ‘modernity of modernistic books’. Nowhere was this more apparent than in Rogers’ design of the Grolier Club’s translation of Tory’s Champ Fleury . The early twentieth-century typographer’s subtle corrections of the sixteenth-century typographer’s unruly design—both in terms of illustration and decoration, but also in terms of layout and proportion—formalized the latter’s conception of the beautiful book. (In the case of the translation of Bernard’s book on Tory, the procedure of redrawing from photographs preserved ‘more of the beauty and interest of the originals’, but that was not actually materially present in the past works.11) As I will argue, Rogers’ formalization of imagined intimacy resulted from the Champ Fleury’s early modern ‘modernity’. Fig 2. View largeDownload slide Bruce Rogers, title page of Geofroy Tory’s Champ Fleury, 1927 (courtesy of the Newberry Library, Chicago). Fig 2. View largeDownload slide Bruce Rogers, title page of Geofroy Tory’s Champ Fleury, 1927 (courtesy of the Newberry Library, Chicago). Begin with Dissatisfaction One way to consider tradition and revival in early twentieth-century typography, in general—and Rogers’ allusive typography in particular—is to take the act of reviving or alluding as the routine practice of an accomplished typographer. This is not to claim that in order to achieve the highest grade of typographic design possible, the modern typographer found that his or her work must have withstood comparison with notable works of the early modern past. Rather, it is to say that the possibilities available to the modern typographer were both latent in the work of the past, and, as I will argue, were imagined, or thought of, in the present.12 As Rogers once observed, modern typography ‘preserves only successful trials and rejects the rough drafts and sketches’.13 As he demonstrated, a trial-by-practice approach to typography responded to the faults in the material artifacts rather than to the accomplishments of earlier practitioners. Preservation addressed, but did not always adhere to, what the typographer took to be the relevant standards of his craft, as established in and through the historical work of typography. As a ‘history to come’, preservation possessed a future-looking rather than backwards-looking purpose. This was not to realize the best intentions of the past in the present, as if an account of typography were to follow a sequence of developments. Rather, it was to comprehend the potentiality of typography as located in a present.14 A single work, having suffered the abuse of poor printing, could not bear the scrutiny of the twentieth-century typographer’s criteria for excellence. However, the cumulative efforts of past typographers suggested that within the tradition, however flawed it may have been in actual practice, there lingered a future ideal formalization of ‘successful’ typography that survived over time. It was latent, and not yet fully realized in print, thus suggesting that typographic tradition was not inherited from the past. Rather, typographic tradition was a present-day imposition of a standard of correctness resulting from an encounter with a pre-existing artifact from the past. Rogers’ self-critical awareness of quality entailed the necessary recognition of historical typography’s imperfection as a fact of its historical existence. In other words, trial acknowledged and responded to existing typographic conventions and the need for adjustment, in the best cases, and correction in the worst cases.15 Also, trial demanded the rejection of normative or standard practices that did little to satisfy the needs of present day communications, as Rogers understood them. Typographers who oriented their practices around the value of a tradition and its revival were, in fact, fully engaged in what art and design historians have articulated as a dialectic of western modernism. Understood in this way, the allusive typographer, in this case Rogers, experienced printed works of the past based on what he had come to know of their disappointments through an exhaustive process of discovery. Some examples for study were discarded, and others were kept. He proceeded with this method of sorting, not as a matter of enthusiasm for the conservation of the past, but as a means to diligently investigate a past that converged with his present. Such an ambition constituted the therapeutic nature of allusive typography, and its attunements to emergent possibilities in design. This was especially the case when Rogers discarded past designs and their poor material qualities that he judged inessential to present-day concerns. Tory’s edition of the sixteenth-century Champ Fleury demanded that Rogers grapple with the challenge of distinguishing a twentieth-century edition of the Champ Fleury from the original. Thus, through a process of correction, Rogers recognized the latent idea embedded in the past. He then set about the process of drawing it out, and replicating it in his present. It was as if Rogers sensed something ineffable in early modern French typography and printing, and then he sought to recover it through a methodical process of preservation. This is best exemplified in Rogers’ stated intention, that his design of the Champ Fleury would bring the early modern Frenchman pleasure, since the ‘first edition must have caused Tory many a sigh of dissatisfaction’.16 Perhaps it is best to say that Rogers’ intentions arose in direct relation to his sense of Tory’s dissatisfaction with a work that has, since its first printing, had an immense impact on the history of typography. Rogers claimed that the practice of allusive typography was to have ‘pleased’ the author of the work. In the case of Tory, the author was also the typographer. And, Rogers’ contention regarding the pleasure of the author/typographer suggested that he believed that there existed a deeper logic to early modern typography. By his own account, only Rogers could divulge this deeper logic. By revealing aspects that were latent in the work, he could amend the original, and thereby bring pleasure. The deeper logic of early modern typography was discontent. For Tory, according to Rogers, displeasure with his Champ Fleury was the result of ‘over inking and bad printing’. The poorly produced product, Rogers continued, caused Tory irritation. As Harry Carter has observed, Tory’s woodcut decorations, following the Italian manner, were light and delicate, which may explain why they suffered from poor printing.17 And the seventeenth-century printer Joseph Moxon’s description of early printing presses as ‘make-shift slovenly contrivance[s]’ may explain Tory’s displeasure with the material manifestation of his design.18 Thus, Rogers’ design of Tory’s Champ Fleury was not a planned return to orthodoxy, in the sense that he intended to revive the original. The result of an uncritical revival would have merely reproduced a latent dissatisfaction, or a reinscription of a deeper logic that was no longer applicable. Rogers could rectify inferior quality, since advances in print technologies had granted greater control to the designer over the integrity of the final product. Allusive typography was not a recuperation of the past but rather an encounter with past disappointments. Indeed, Rogers wanted to deliver a book to Tory that the author/typographer could not have produced in his historical moment—‘to have pleased the author … by the form which I gave it’. While redrawing Tory’s borders and floriated letters Rogers familiarized himself with Tory’s ‘sigh[s] of dissatisfaction’. I do not mean to indicate that there was any validity to Rogers’ projections by recounting his claim to know Tory’s mind, as if the consciousness of the early modern author/typographer was transparently available to the modern typographer. Rogers may have picked up traces of Tory’s lack of concern for typographic perfection, something he mistook for the early modern printer’s dissatisfaction. As Nicholas Barker contends, Tory was not much interested in ‘the appearance of type…’.19 And, no doubt Rogers sensed his disinterest in the motley character of the layout of the book. Therefore, the quality (or lack thereof) of Tory’s Champ Fleury could have stemmed from his indifference as much as from his dissatisfaction. And the latter could have resulted from the former. We can never know. What matters with regard to typographic excellence, however, was that Rogers was motivated to correct what he perceived as intolerable flaws in the original work, whether or not they existed for Tory. To Rogers’ mind, each correction brought him closer to the promises of early modern achievements, which could only have been realized by the amending gesture of the twentieth-century typographer, and which led to additional alterations and adjustments that resulted in the production of a new Champ Fleury. Redrawing The Past How did Rogers come to know Tory’s Champ Fleury? The twenty-year-long story is a bit roundabout, and too extensive to go into full detail in this article. A brief synopsis of a few touchstones will go far to answer the question. Rogers had become a designer of some repute while working at the Riverside Press. His early work was greatly influenced by William Morris and the Kelmscott Press. When he took employment with Riverside Press in 1896, Rogers turned away from the Gothic-inspired typography of the Arts and Crafts movement, and the black-letter influence that figured large in his early work. While designing books for the press, Rogers’ typographic experiments entailed a greater refinement of his craft. His achievement was due, in no small part, to encounters with early modern French printing specimens, many of which were made available to him through the library at Harvard University. And if not for his research and experimentation, as Beatrice Warde observed, early twentieth-century typographers ‘should still be under the dominion of black type and heavy woodcut decorations’.20 Notable works designed at Riverside Press included but were not limited to Songs and Sonnets of Pierre de Ronsard (1903); Montaigne’s Essays (1902–1904); The Love Poems of John Donne (1905); and Browne’s Hydrotophia, Urne-Buriall (1907). Of these, Rogers distinguished himself with his design of the three folio volume editions of Montaigne’s Essays, a magisterial production where the portrait frontispiece for each book (three in total) was framed in borders modelled on those found in one of Tory’s later Horae. In addition to these works, and as mentioned above, Rogers designed the Riverside Press translation of August Bernard’s Geofroy Tory, Painter and Engraver, First Royal Printer, Reformer of Orthography and Typography under François I: An Account of his Life and Works in 1909. For the ‘Author’s Preface’ to the Bernard book, Rogers redrew four of eight complete borders engraved in black from Tory’s workshop (1536–1540), and throughout the text, he inserted floriated letters from an alphabet engraved for the French printer and classical scholar Robert Estienne (from 1526) . In order to ensure clarity in the reproduction of Tory’s numerous borders, typographic illustrations, floriated capitals, and more to be included in the Bernard book, Rogers set about his task by referencing Tory’s Champ Fleury to compare it to the ‘numerous extracts’ that Bernard included in his original. He discovered additional image references while working at the Harvard Library. The designs were redrawn over photographs of the original decorations. From these drawings, photo engravings were made, and were later corrected by hand while on press. A departure from the usual methods of facsimile reproduction, Rogers’ method of redrawing lent the Bernard book an air of early modern authenticity that was lacking in the nineteenth-century French edition.21 At that time, photographic reproduction and direct facsimile would have retained the inconsistencies of early modern press impressions, and thus obscured the crisp detail of Tory’s borders. As a reviewer for the New Republic commented on the Bernard translation, ‘[R]edrawing of Tory’s brilliant and dignified designs is the only method by which they can be made to take their proper place in relation to the type…’.22 This last quotation raises an important question regarding the relationship between Rogers’ border treatment and the type. As was the case with Montaigne’s Essays, Rogers set the Bernard translation in an early version of his Centaur, a typeface that resulted from his meticulous redrawing of the fifteenth-century printer Nicolas Jenson’s antique typeface for Eusebius’ De praeparatione evangelica.23 In order to retain the ‘pen-like-character’ of the original Jensen letters, Rogers drew over photographic enlargements of the Eusebius book, and thus attained a quality of form that was all his own.24 In this sense, redrawing was not renewal or revival but was rather a form of invention in keeping with Rogers’ entanglements with allusive typography, and his inclination to fulfill the promises of early modern past. Fig 3. View largeDownload slide Bruce Rogers, two-page spread from August Bernard’s Geofroy Tory, 1909 (courtesy of the Newberry Library, Chicago). Fig 3. View largeDownload slide Bruce Rogers, two-page spread from August Bernard’s Geofroy Tory, 1909 (courtesy of the Newberry Library, Chicago). Six years after he had resigned from the Riverside Press, Rogers reacquainted himself with Tory’s achievement. In 1915, Theodore Low De Vinne, the esteemed American printer and founding member of the Grolier Club, suggested to fellow members of the club that they should commission Rogers to design a translation of the Champ Fleury.25 In 1914, Rogers had designed Luther Samuel Livingston’s Franklin and His Press at Passy for the Grolier Club.26 Like the Bernard book on Tory for the Riverside Press, Livingston’s Franklin and His Press at Passy was a collection of Benjamin Franklin’s activities as a printer, namely broadsides and leaflets that were representative of the American’s residence in France. The efficacy of Rogers’ allusion to the colonial printer’s style—as elevated by the designer’s attention to the fine details of typographic design—led to De Vinne’s offer. Once he received the invitation from De Vinne, Rogers immediately took up the design of the Grolier Club’s translated edition of Tory’s Champ Fleury, producing an incomplete proof that same year. From the beginning of the project he planned a work that was substantially different from its original.27 Very soon after he started the project, however, Rogers abandoned further work on the Champ Fleury. He considered the labour ‘too extensive’ at that point.28 And, due to lack of funds, the Grolier Club’s committee on publications sidelined the translation of the Champ Fleury.29 In the meantime, Rogers proposed a ‘treatment’ of Albrecht Dürer’s Of the Just Shaping of Letters (the third book from his Treatise on Applied Geometry, 1525), a project he completed for the Grolier Club while working with the British engraver and printer Emery Walker, and while acting as the Print Advisor to the Cambridge University Press.30 Some years after his return to the United States, the Grolier Club committee on publications granted Rogers the approval in 1922 to proceed on the Champ Fleury.31 It would take five additional years to complete the book. Allusive Typography The British typographer and historian Stanley Morison thought that Rogers’ work in the 1920s possessed ‘a little too much of the auction room influence…’.32 It is very likely that, by his reference to the auction room, Morison meant that Rogers hewed too closely to the past. Or, that somehow the American typographer’s work was insincere, in that it was not of his own mind. Morison’s assessment begs to be weighed against that of the British bibliographer Alfred W. Pollard, who described Rogers’ affinity for the sixteenth-century, gained while at the Riverside Press, as lending him a ‘much better starting ground for modern work’.33 Rogers’ approach to the past best corresponded to what Pollard characterized as ‘our modern ways’. And he concluded that Rogers had ‘realized the ideals of several different periods with more complete success than his prototypes themselves attained’.34 Pollard’s reference to ‘modern ways’ indicated Rogers’ recognition of having to contend with the enduring pull of tradition and past authority while having to confront what he sensed were the regrets of typographers of the past. Yet, like Morison, Pollard found the conceit of allusive typography—at its worse, something akin to a bibliophile’s scrapbook—far from ideal. Nevertheless, he praised Rogers’ ‘liberal handling’ of the decorated book.35 Pollard’s comments were further amplified by the former printer to Princeton University, Fredric Warde, who observed exactly this tension between freely circulating decorative forms in Rogers’ designs. He proposed that the designer conducted experiments with objects, quite apart from any strict period considerations, that produced typographic hybrids.36 Warde observed: If, indeed, we can grant the obvious fact that the choice of type give the essential flavor to a piece of printing, it may be contended that Mr. Rogers has never designed a book which can be called, in toto, ‘sixteenth-century,’ that is, one in which all the typographic elements are inspired by the best work of that single epoch.37 The auction room and the antiquarian’s display case could be construed as sites for pedantic instruction, as if to create idealized mirror images of the past in the present; as if the passing of time were inconsequential and the past could be seen ‘narcissistically’; and, as if to confront the ravages of time, as a prophylactic against transformative forces.38 Understood in the context of a broader reception, however, Morison’s complaint marked a point of divergence from the anachronistic production of an idealized past. Bearing in mind Rogers’ desire to bring Tory pleasure with the production of a new Champ Fleury, his skilful manipulations of, what Pollard called, the ‘Toryesque’, exceeded qualities that made the source what it was in its day, and, by doing so, produced an object that troubled the rarified atmosphere of the auction room. Indeed, if Rogers’ possessed an antiquarian’s appreciation for artifacts, it was less in keeping with the antiquarian history disparaged by the likes of Fredrich Nietzsche, than it was in keeping with the neo-antiquarianism of Walter Benjamin.39 As a guiding instance of ‘liberal handling’, consider Rogers’ overall design for the book as an example of just this sort of free approach to the design of the early modern book  . The blush of the ‘Toryesque’ was apparent in Rogers’ general formatting of the Grolier edition of the Champ Fleury. Importantly, the formatting and layout of the page did not result in a mirror replication of Tory’s text. It could not, according to Rogers’ own wish to correct the earlier edition. Rogers designed the layout of pages to accommodate generous margins, a surface quality that forcefully distinguishes his design from that of the original. Head-, bottom-, right-, and left-margins did not merely enforce spatial and temporal boundaries by delineating the space of the recontextualized text; rather, if studied closely so as to see between the lines, Rogers’ design of the text itself opened up to the margins by way of his liberal line-spacing.40 His alterations to the page also accommodated a longer measure for printed marginalia (which were sparsely peppered throughout the book). The surrounding margins acted as a frame (and not a border, as was the case with the borders for Rogers’ design of Bernard’s Geofroy Tory). More importantly, the frame converted the page into an image for (or of) Tory’s pleasure, marking what was visibly corrected in Rogers’ design. Therefore, the margins were no mere adjunct to the design, but rather, their presence, along with generous line-spacing, effectively established—page after page, image after image—Rogers’ solution for Tory’s dissatisfaction.41 This was what Rogers’ himself defined as allusive typography. Fig 4. View largeDownload slide Bruce Rogers, two-page spread from Geofroy Tory’s Champ Fleury, 1927 (courtesy of the Newberry Library, Chicago). Fig 4. View largeDownload slide Bruce Rogers, two-page spread from Geofroy Tory’s Champ Fleury, 1927 (courtesy of the Newberry Library, Chicago). Fig 5. View largeDownload slide Geofroy Tory, two-page spread from Champ Fleury, 1529 (courtesy of the Newberry Library, Chicago). Fig 5. View largeDownload slide Geofroy Tory, two-page spread from Champ Fleury, 1529 (courtesy of the Newberry Library, Chicago). Framing acknowledged, in its attunement to the thwarted perfections of the past, that the two Champ Fleurys did not match up. Consider an instance that best exemplifies the out-of-synch character of the two books—the source and its putative reproduction—in two two-page spreads of the ‘second book’ of the Champ Fleury—one designed and printed in 1529 and the other in 1927  . While they share common elements—four large capitals—there were enough obvious differences to render each one unique. Because of this, on first glance, the Grolier edition registered as a modified version of the earlier work. There are two large roman letters on each page, stacked one above the other. In total, there is an ‘O’, an ‘A’, an ‘H’, and a ‘K’. Each character is contained within a gridded square with a circle drawn to meet the edges of the repeated coordinate system.42 The square, circle, and bisecting horizontal and vertical lines are all the same weight. Each character is accompanied by a slightly stylized male figure. These detail figures are often reproduced in histories of typography; they appear as cropped-out from the overall layout of Tory’s pages so as to emphasize the ‘cardinal’ form of his letters. Fixing the human to the letter was part of a programme to proportion both the letter and the man according to the grid, square, and circle. Fig 6. View largeDownload slide Bruce Rogers, two-page spread from Geofroy Tory’s Champ Fleury, 1927 (courtesy of the Newberry Library, Chicago). Fig 6. View largeDownload slide Bruce Rogers, two-page spread from Geofroy Tory’s Champ Fleury, 1927 (courtesy of the Newberry Library, Chicago). Fig 7. View largeDownload slide Geofroy Tory, two-page spread from Champ Fleury, 1529 (courtesy of the Newberry Library, Chicago). Fig 7. View largeDownload slide Geofroy Tory, two-page spread from Champ Fleury, 1529 (courtesy of the Newberry Library, Chicago). The directly comparable two-page spread in the Grolier edition of the Champ Fleury displays four large capitals settled within columns of type; they do not jostle for the attention of the reader. Instead, the placement of roman letters distribute perception evenly across two pages. Each letter is stacked one above the other. Their balanced placement marks an even play across the spread, inscribing a stable and squared configuration. ‘O-A-H-K’, ‘H-O-K-A’, ‘A-H-O-K’, ‘K-O-H-A’ letter forms fall into a sequence of typographic arrangement, and, thus, reinforce the subdued effect of the composition. The design of the Grolier edition serves to highlight a request for ‘Modesty’ (‘Pudicite’, in the original).43 In the case of Tory’s edition, the large capital ‘O’ touches off the diagonal, crisscross scanning of the pages. In the Grolier edition, however, Roger’s stabilization of the layout draws attention downward, thereby directing the reader to the chaste figure whose ‘organ of generation’, as Ives translated Tory’s description of his little man, is obscured by the crossbar of the letter ‘A’.44 Rather than the all-over saccadic rhythm elicited by Tory’s Champ Fleury, the Grolier edition constructs the deep focused continuity of reading, which seemed to imply temporal continuity with the Tory edition. The once animated page—a vitality that is wholly typographic, as I mentioned above—is frozen into an image of control, of clear directionality, and of attention that was nowhere present in the early modern book. In designing a noticeably different edition, Rogers’ reconstituted Tory’s Champ Fleury in accordance with his anxiety regarding the threat of the ‘modernity of modernistic books’. In cleaning up the historical model Rogers asserted an idealized singularity over the historical reality of multiplicity, by denying the early modern edition of the Champ Fleury’s prefiguration of late modern ‘moment-by-moment-multiple-focus’ in a pre-industrial economy of perception.45 To put it plainly, Tory’s modernity too closely resembled the techniques of a modernistic attitude. It is worth noting the American historian of early modern French literature Tom Conley’s interpretation of the early modern French book as a ‘montage’ of letters, graphic shape, and spacing; as a destabilization of the semantic elements of the text; as ‘the visual shift in the montage of words’; as a convergence and dispersal of ‘typographical invagination, by which the spatial play of … letters … perform[ing] what is forbidden in narrative’; and, finally, as a ‘play of vertical montage and dispersion’.46 As mentioned above, there are two large letters on each page of Tory’s Champ Fleury, stacked one above the other. Their asymmetrical, staggered placement marks a tension across the two pages. The jutting vertical established by ‘H’ and ‘K’ challenges the horizontal format of the open book. ‘O-A-H-K’, ‘H-O-K-A’, ‘A-H-O-K’, ‘K-O-H-A’ letterforms solicit the eye to skip through various sequences of typographic arrangement, and, thus, reinforce the montage-like effect of the over-all composition. The all-over saccadic rhythm is further reinforced by the three circles that occupy the grids that underlay ‘A-H-K’. The letter ‘O’ echoes in the circles and registers the spread-eagle figure that occupies the bowl of the letterform. The first diagonal gutter margin crossing where ‘O’ cuts to ‘K’ cuts to ‘H’ cuts to ‘A’ inspires a callisthenic like movement. As Tory remarked in regards to the cardinality of the letter ‘O’, ‘Liberal Arts are more concerned with bodily exercise’. Thus, the human figure performed a Renaissance version of jumping-jacks. Here, motion animates the two pages, infusing the layout with a vitality that is typographic and early modern. Montage and movement address the very heart of the matter in Megan Benton’s narrative of opposition between traditionalists and modernists. Benton has argued that a ‘typographic tension’ existed in the early twentieth-century as an ideological clash between an elite audience who preferred the tranquil surfaces of the classical typography of the traditionalists—what Rogers’ seemed to assume—and a mass audience who were drawn to the graphic pyrotechnics of advertising and magazines.47 This ‘tension’, according to Benton, marked an anxiety over the perceived erosion of attention or deep focus in modernist typography and design.48 Literacy and reading were thought to be at the very core of the communicative function of humanism, which was underwritten by the medium of print. The traditionalist understood that typography should enhance the continuity of reading, and through that understanding advocated for the singularity of the elite. Championing a reader’s prolonged encounter with a text was in direct opposition to the perceived promiscuity of machine-age typography and its adherence to the dictates of vulgar capitalism. And, yet, as Rogers sensed in his corrections, the humanist book was never humanistic in the way that Benton has argued was the case for traditionalists. Hence, his sense of Tory’s dissatisfaction. As Conley and the French historian Rogers Chartier have asserted, early modern books possessed nothing of the singular and stable qualities that could have sustained deep focus or the continuity of reading.49 Tory’s design invited movement and dispersal—the ‘moment-by-moment-multiple-focus’. Its qualities were of a different sort than those praised by the early twentieth century traditionalists. Indeed, the early modern book hardly resembled the humanist text traditionalists were charged with too often treating like a fetish object. Conclusion: Invention and Fantasy Rogers’ scrutiny of historical sources need not have resulted in his acceptance of typographic orthodoxy. Instead, his encounters with past undertakings were instances of acknowledgement that could lead to discovery. What he himself thought were flaws to be made right but, perhaps more interesting, were what Pollard identified as the ‘starting ground for modern work’. In the application of subtle discriminations, allusive typography compared the distant and proximal—the past and the present—as a critical evaluation of the exacting specifications of his own era of typographic reform: Machine-Age Typography, New Typography, or Modern Typography. The idiosyncrasies of montage and movement in Tory’s Champ Fleury were the result of the economic and material realities of setting type and printing in the sixteenth-century France, as well as Tory’s own lack of interest in the finer points of design. Allusive typography acknowledged inheritance by deploying refinements to the deficiencies of past typography. A project of redrawing distinctions grappled with the ordinary, or fact of pre-existing stock of typography to assert a modern mode of designing for print, while not designing for the printing press. Redrawing, framing, and reformatting in the Grolier book eliminated perceivable traces of Tory’s press and its imprecision, and thus established a base-line norm for a practice of modern typography distinct from modern printing.50 This could be the case, at least to the extent that the typographer renounced a tradition of printing by denying it as a necessary source of technological determinism. Printing as a vocation and as a material product was inessential to the concerns of modern typography. The recognition of the dispensability of past printing, and its inherent flaws, to design engendered the exploratory strategies of allusive typography, and its attunements to, or imagined intimacies with its nascent pleasures. Tory’s Champ Fleury possessed no faults previous to Rogers’ taking up the task of providing a remedy for its shortcomings; the book’s imperfections did not precede Rogers’ detection of dissatisfaction. Therefore, his sense of disappointment in the work of the past was his own, as was the pleasure to be had in reconstituting the Champ Fleury. The task of allusive typography, as Rogers’ rehearsed its prerogatives, was to evaluate what could be discarded from the past, and what could possibly measure up, as design, to the conditions of his moment. This meant that, in working over—literally, in his comportment taken with the task of redrawing and redesigning—his source, he would have to decide as to what would count as allusion in the design of the Grolier edition of the Champ Fleury. The question of what to include was unintelligible to him if not for the object that existed before his design—not Tory’s Champ Fleury as an object, but dissatisfaction as an object, as something made material in print. Perhaps, in taking the measure of the past in relation to his present, Rogers’ choice to inhibit montage and movement, what years later Conley would see in Tory’s book, emerged from a desire to take pleasure in a tradition of humanist typography that never, in fact, existed? If this were the case, then what others have characterized as Rogers’ traditionalism can be newly considered as a task of humanizing the humanistic. That is to say, Rogers corrected the jumbled oddities of Tory’s original, and thereby made it adhere to his ideal of moderation in early modern humanist typography. Rogers’ Grolier edition of the Champ Fleury, reconsidered thusly, was a fantasy construction of a past work to meet the perceived desires and fears of his present. If you have any comments to make in relation to this article, please go to the journal website onhttp://jdh.oxfordjournals.organd access this article. There is a facility on the site for sending e-mail responses to the editorial board and other readers. Notes 1 Bruce Rogers and George B. Ives, ‘Printer’s Preface’ in Geoffrey Tory, Painter and Engraver, First Royal Printer, Reformer of Orthography and Typography under François I: An Account of his Life and Works (Boston: The Riverside Press, 1909), n.p. 2 Quoted in Joseph Blumenthal, Bruce Rogers: A Life in Letters (Austin: W.T. Taylor, 1989), 99. 3 See distinctions made between the modernists’ expressiveness and the traditionalists’ restraint in Frederic W. Goudy, ‘Why go Modern’, in Texts on Type: Critical Writings on Typography, ed. Stuart Heller and Philip B. Meggs (New York: Allworth Press, 2001), 153. 4 Rogers, in a letter to the Chicago letterer and illustrator Thomas Wood Stevens, 4 March 1904, quoted in Blumenthal, op. cit., 21. 5 Blumenthal, op. cit., 30. 6 The dialectical middle-ground is, according to the German cultural critic Walter Benjamin, experienced as modernity. This experience is such that, in citing the past, or ‘primal history’, the products of the modern ‘epoch’ appear as if untethered from the conventions of temporal continuity. See Walter Benjamin ‘Paris, the Capital of the Nineteenth Century’, in Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Volume 3, 1935–1938, ed. Howard Eiland and Michael W. Jennings (Cambridge: Belkamp Press, 2002), 40 and Walter Benjamin, ‘The Paris of the Second Empire in Baudelaire’, in Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Volume 4, 1938–1940, ed. Howard Eiland and Michael W. Jennings (Cambridge: Belkamp Press, 2003), 49. As Michael Taussig adds, modernity affords opportunities for ‘resurgence—not continuity’. Michael Taussig, Mimesis and Alterity: A Particular History of the Senses (New York: Routledge, 1993), 20. 7 Bruce Rogers, Paragraphs on Printing, ed. J. Hendrickson, (New York: Dover Publications, 1979 ), 75. ‘Creative imagination’ is implied in Rogers’ allusive typography. In addressing the problem of the persistence of tradition for the work of the creative mind, the German art historian Aby Warburg underscored the ‘penetrating strength’ of the ‘superior point of view’ when confronting sources, and overcoming the lure of exact replication or mere copying. Aby Warburg, ‘Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe: The Prefigurative Function of Elementary Pagan Divinities for the Evolution of the Modern Sentiment Towards Nature’, Journal of Art Historiography, https://arthistoriography.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/latsis-warburg-translation.pdf, accessed 6 March 2017. 8 The term ‘survival’ occupies a significant place in the subtitle of Daniel Berkeley Updike’s Printing Types: Their History, Forms, and Use, A Study of Survivals. Updike used ‘survival’ in its evolutionary sense. He wrote, ‘As in the Roman alphabet as opposed to other alphabets—as in certain famous types as opposed to other types—we see a survival of the fittest...’. Daniel B. Updike, Printing Types: Their History, Forms, and Use, A Study of Survivals, vol. 2 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1922), 274. 9 Quoted in Blumenthal, op. cit., 29. 10 According to Warburg, the issue of artistic inheritance was addressed neither as a matter of taste nor as a matter of unconscious receptions. Rather, it was a matter of critical ‘confrontation’. It is critical confrontation that leads to the possibility of transformation through a reconception of tradition. See Giorgio Agamben, ‘Aby Warburg and the Nameless Science’, in Giorgio Agamben, Potentialities: Collected Essays in Philosophy, ed. and trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999), 94. 11 B. Rogers and G.B. Ives, ‘Printer’s Preface’ in Geoffrey Tory, op. cit., n.p. 12 My thanks to Michael Schreyach for reading early drafts of this article, and for directing me to key passages in the writings of art historian Michael Fried regarding modernist art. Fried (writing in the 1960s) argued that in order to achieve the highest grade of art possible under present circumstances, the modernist artist finds that his or her work must ‘stand comparison’ with notable works of the pre-modernist and modernist past. See Michael Fried, ‘Shape as Form: Frank Stella’s Irregular Polygons’, in Michael Fried, Art and Objecthood: Essays and Reviews (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1998), 99. Fried extends these thoughts in ‘Three American Painters: Noland, Olitski, Stella’, op. cit., 217–229, and in Michael Fried, ‘How Modernism Works: A Response to T.J. Clark’, Critical Inquiry, 9, no. 1 (1982), 217–234. The peer reviewers for this essay have since pushed me to reconsider the validity of Fried’s normative account of temporal continuity and the operative standards of inheritance set by past works. If Fried’s prescription were applied to Rogers’s case, then his design of the Champ Fleury could not ‘stand comparison’ with Tory’s Champ Fleury, since the latter was the fulfilment of the former’s intention. In other words, in order to follow Fried, the logic of Rogers’ desire to please Tory dictated that he would have had to compare his work with his work, since the 1927 edition was the fulfilment of the early modern idea of typographic excellence. 13 Bruce Rogers, ‘On Printing’, in Bruce Rogers, PI: A Hodge-Podge of the Letters, Papers, and Addresses Written During the Last Sixty Years (Cleveland and New York: The World Publishing Company, 1953), 45. 14 I am greatly indebted to Aron Vinegar and Jorge Otero-Pallos’ comments on the future-oriented character of preservation in their introductions to two special issues of the journal Future Anterior. In both texts, Vinegar and Otero-Pallos argue that acts of preservation are always spatiotemporally complex in their orientation to the past and to the future. See Aron Vinegar and Jorge Otero-Pallos, ‘What a Monument Can Do’, Future Anterior: Journal of Historic Preservation History Theory & Criticism, viii, no. 2 (201, iii–vii; and ‘On Preserving the Openness of the Monument’, Future Anterior: Journal of Historic Preservation History Theory & Criticism, ix, no. 2 (2012), iii–vi. In my conversation with Vinegar, he has raised the central point that the interlacing of past and future produce a heterogeneous array of temporalities in the present, a point that has led me to explore many of the issues raised in the present essay. 15 On responses to convention, see Cavell, The Claim of Reason (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979), 86–125, 123. In an important passage, Cavell discusses modernist artists’ explorations of ‘mere conventions’ to establish ‘new conventions’. On convention as the ‘rock bottom’ of criteria for something to be the case, see Ludwig Wittgenstein, The Blue and Brown Books (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1958), 24–25. 16 Rogers quoted in prospectus for Champ Fleury (New York: Grolier Club, 1927), n.p. 17 Harry. Carter, ‘Latin and Vernacular’, in A View of Early Typography Up to About 1600 (London: Hyphen Press, 2002), 81. 18 Joseph Moxon, Moxon’s Mechanick Exercises, or The Doctrine of Handy-Works Applied to the Art of Printing: a literal reprint in two volumes of the first edition published in the year 1683, vol. 2 (New York: Typothetæ of the City of New York, 1896), 45n37. 19 Nicholas Barker, ‘The Aldine Roman in Paris, 1530–34’, in Nicholas Barker, Form and Meaning in the History of the Book: Selected Essays (London: The British Library, 2002), 192. 20 Beatrice Warde quoted in Susan O. Thompson, ‘Bruce Rogers & J.M. Bowles’, in American Book Design and William Morris, ed. Susan O. Thompson (New Castle: Oak Knoll Press, 1996), 66. 21 Bruce Rogers, ‘Printer’s Forward’, in Geofroy Tory, Painter and Engraver, First Royal Printer, Reformer of Orthography and Typography Under François I: An Account of His Life and Works (Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1916), n.p. 22 Anon., ‘Review’, Nation, 89, no. 2298, July 15 (1909), 62. 23 On the development of Centaur, see Jerry Kelly and Misha Beletsky, The Noblest Roman: A History of the Centaur Types of Bruce Rogers. Boston: David R. Godine Publisher, 2016. 24 As Rogers explained, he learned typographic design from John Ruskin’s ‘Exercise V’, in Elements of Drawing. Ruskin quotes J.M.W. Turner where he identifies accurate typographic form as a ‘state of forwardness’. Rogers, Paragraphs on Printing, op. cit., 65; John Ruskin, Elements of Drawing: In Three Letters to Beginners (New York: John Wiley and Son, 1876), 34. 25 The date is confirmed in Rogers’ letter to H.N. Kent, 1 March 1915, where Rogers stated: ‘I have had trial pages of the ‘Champ Fleury’ printed up into a dummy for some time’. Archives of the Grolier Club Library. Also, reference to De Vinne’s recommendation is in Letter from Secretary to the Committee on Publications to T.M. Cleland, 12 April 1921. 26 In a talk prepared (but never given) for the opening of a new location of the Grolier Club in 1918, Daniel Berkeley Updike singled out Rogers’ design: ‘The Franklin is a volume which in its subject, the treatment of that subject, and in its typography, is almost everything that a book should be, and exemplifies the sort of volume which the Club, it seems to me, would do well to have more of.’ Daniel B. Updike, ‘An Address to the Grolier Club,’ in The Well Made Book: Essays & Lectures, ed. William S. Peterson e (West New York, N.J.: Mark Batty Publisher, 2002), 309. 27 Rogers, handwritten prospectus, 1 March 1915. Archives of the Grolier Club Library. 28 Rogers letter to H.N. Kent 16 March 1915. The ‘extensive’ nature of the Champ Fleury project may well have had more to do with its translation than with its design and printing. George Ives, who had worked on the Bernard book, wrote to Frank Altschul to explain the intolerable difficulty he was having with translating the Tory text. The original presented Ives with numerous problems—obsolete spelling, misprints and the like—but mostly, ‘the extraordinary nature of the matter, of which it is often impossible even to guess at the meaning without long study’. Ives letter to Altschul, 16 July 1922. Archives of the Grolier Club Library. 29 Letters from Frank Altschul to Rogers, W.E. Rudge, and George Ives, 15 Nov 1922. Archives of the Grolier Club Library. 30 See Albrecht Dürer, Of the Just Shaping of Letters: From the Applied Geometry of Albrecht Dürer, Book III, trans. R.T. Nicole. New York: Grolier Club, 1917. For reference to work on the Dürer, see Rogers to H.N. Kent 23 December 1917. Archives of the Grolier Club Library. 31 Letters from Altschul to Rogers, W.E. Rudge, and Ives, 15 Nov 1922. Archives of the Grolier Club Library. 32 See letter from Morison to Updike in Daniel B. Updike and Stanley . Morison, Stanley Morison & D.B. Updike: Selected Correspondenc, (New York: Moretus Press, 1979), 150. 33 Alfred W. Pollard, Modern Fine Printing in England and Mr. Bruce Rogers (Newark: Carteret Book Club, 1916), 19–20. 34 Pollard, op. cit., 19–20. 35 Ibid., 13. 36 Fredric Warde, Bruce Rogers: Designer of Books (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1926), 5. 37 Ibid., 34. 38 On survival and revival as ‘different conditions of ontological wholeness and of being in time’, see Anne-Marie Sankovitch, ‘Anachronism and Simulation in Renaissance Architectural Theory’, Res: Anthropology and Aesthetics, nos. 49/50 (2006): 193. On related issues in the historiography of visual culture, see Georges Didi-Huberman, ‘The Surviving Image: Aby Warburg and Tylorian Anthropology’, Oxford Art Journal, 25, no. 1 (2002): 63. 39 In addition to examples given above, there were multiple instances of Benjamin’s neo-antiquarian attitude. For example, when discussing Proust in his essay, ‘On Some Motifs in Baudelaire’, Benjamin remarked, ‘Therefore, Proust, summing up, says that the past is ‘somewhat beyond the reach of the intellect, and unmistakably present in some material object (or in some sensation which such an object arouses in us), though we have no idea which one it is’. This is the opposite of antiquarian historicism, which had construct idealized pasts to shore up the foundations of modern states. See Walter Benjamin, ‘On Some Motifs in Baudelaire’, in Walter Benjamin, Reflections: Essays, Aphorisms, Autobiographical Writings (New York: Schocken, 1968), 158. 40 On the ‘anachronism of leaded lines’ or line-spacing, see Paul Beujon [Beatrice Warde], ‘The Garamond Types; Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Sources Considered’, Fleuron, 5 (1927): 70. 41 I count Rogers’ transition from decorative border to marginal framing, however modest and in keeping with the original profile of Tory’s book, as a tremendous achievement. It provides a useful counter-example to the parergonal logic of Derridian aesthetic constructivism, which maintains that the inner structure of a work is dependent on its relation to its outside, and hence the determinate nature of framing. For the Derridian interpreter, the frame delimits the centre that is, for all intents and purposes, hollow, and that requires supplemental thought, knowledge, or sources to fill it in. The benefit of a constructivist framing of typography might lead to interpretations that use discourse (the text) to frame typographic achievement, the meaning of which correlates to what is external to typography and typographer. But what Rogers suggests is that, whatever initially appears as the singular achievement of the typographer’s registering the contingencies of the present—that is, what is external to typography as social and/or cultural framing—actually transfers, or transmits, from a history of typographical sources that preceded the thought of the typographer. However, a close reading of Derrida on framing reveals that his thought has little to do with what has become Derridian aesthetic constructivism. Rather, Derrida practises what Maurizo Ferraris calls, the ‘weak textualism’ of idiomatic inscription. Jacques Derrida, ‘Parergon’, in Jacques Derrida, The Truth in Painting (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), 57–100. On the relation between the necessary and contingent in Derrida’s logic of the frame, see J. M. Bernstein, The Fate of Art: Aesthetic Alienation from Kant to Derrida, and Adorno (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1992), 168–169, 191. On Ferraris’ positivist realist rescue of Derrida, see Maurizio Ferraris, ‘Documentality’, in Maurizio Ferraris, Introduction to New Realism (London: Bloomsbury, 2015), 62–69. 42 Johnson attributes Tory’s theory on the roman letter to the Italians, Luca Paccioli and Sigismondo Fanti. The Italians supplied Tory with the proper proportions of letter in relation to the human head and body. But rather than follow the nine to one ratio of the Italians, he follows Dürer’s ratio of ten to one. Alfred F. Johnson, French Sixteenth Century Printing (London: Ernest Benn Ltd., 1928) 14. Stanley Morison dates the end of the geometrical guidance to 1692–1702. Stanley. Morison, Politics and Script: Aspects of Authority and Freedom in the Development of Graeco-Latin Script from the Sixth Century B.C. to the Twentieth Century A.D., ed. Nicholas Barker (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972), 322. 43 ‘Pudicite’ in Latin translates as ‘modesty’, whereas, in French it directly translates as ‘prudery’. Geofroy Tory, Champ Fleury, trans. G. Ives (New York: Grolier Club, 1928), 48. 44 Tory, op. cit., 48. Tory wrote, ‘le membre genital de lhomme’. 45 Tom Conley, The Graphic Unconscious in Early Modern French Writing (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 5. 46 Conley, op. cit., 17, 34, 36, 51, 53. 47 See Megan L. Benton, ‘Unruly Servants: Machines, Modernity, and the Printed Page’, in Print in Motion: The Expansion of Publishing and Reading in the United States, 1880–1940, ed. Carl F. Kaestle and Janice A. Roadway (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009), 152–163. 48 Megan L. Benton, Beauty and the Book: Fine Editions and Cultural Distinction in America (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000) 36–37, 233. As Benton has observed, the typographic traditionalists’ anxieties concerning the anti-humanistic threat of modernity ran parallel to the ‘New Humanism’ of the early twentieth-century, best exemplified by Irving Babbitt. 49 In addition to The Graphic Unconscious, see Tom Conley, An Errant Eye: Poetry and Topography in Early Modern France. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011; Roger Chartier, The Cultural Uses of Print in Early Modern France. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987: and The Author’s Hand and the Printer’s Mind. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2014. 50 According to the British historian of typography Robin Kinross, modern typography achieved independence when, after a long process of confining itself to practical applications, it split off from the print-trade. Modern typography, thereby, ceased to be unquestioningly integrated into a general practice of ‘materials of production’ and, from that point on, undertook the ‘conscious shaping of the product’. Kinross’s history of modern typography, as distinct from a history of printing, is an account of a steadfast concern for design, and makes a claim for the autonomy of typography as distinct from the material support of the printing press. By ‘autonomy’, I mean that, for Kinross, typography distinguishes itself as typography (and not as printing). Like the German critical theorist Theodor Adorno, for whom he shows the highest regard, Kinross maintains that modern typography meets the dictates and exigencies of the typographer’s materials. See Robin Kinross, Modern Typography: An Essay in Critical History, 2nd ed. (London: Hyphen Press, 2004), 15. On Kinross’s discussion of Adorno and modernism’s relentless ‘acting out a contradiction’, see Robin Kinross, ‘Adorno’s Minima moralia’, in Unjustified Texts: Perspectives on Typography (London: Hyphen Press, 2002), 185. © The Author(s) . Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Design History Society. All rights reserved. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)
Journal of Design History – Oxford University Press
Published: Apr 10, 2018
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