A reprint of this long-out-of-print and now classic work, which summarizes what can be known about the production and use of type in the first 150 years of printing. Originally a set of lectures, the book is an informal discourse by a master of his topic. The argument is illustrated with a large gathering of pictures. A new introduction by James Mosley explains the significance of the book and gives a short account of Carter’s life and work.
Introduction to the reprint, by James Mosley
Corrigenda and addenda
- The technicalities of type
- Diversity of letter-forms in print
- The establishment of common idioms
- Latin and vernacular
- The history of typefounding and punchcutting
Supplement on italic
Old names for bodies of type
A map of Central Europe in 1476
First published by Oxford University Press in 1969, A view of early typography has long been out of print. It is a wonderful summary of what can be known about the production and use of type in the first 150 years of printing. By focusing on type, Carter goes to the heart of the matter: this is the point at which the material processes of printing meet the intellectual concerns of the publishers and the nature of the texts that they published. Among the topics covered: the technicalities of type production, and the passage from craft to industrial manufacture; the diversity of letterforms (blackletter, roman, italic, and more); the tensions between Latin and the vernacular languages; the establishment of standards and norms in type design. Carter ranges widely and deftly over the field of European printing in the period 1450–1600, drawing principally on his own long experience of the materials surviving from that time in libraries and archives. The argument is illustrated with a large gathering of pictures, mainly of details from books, freshly taken for this purpose. This is a photo-reprint of the first edition, augmented by a new introduction in which James Mosley explains the significance of the book and gives a short account a Carter’s life and work.
Harry Carter’s book has been out of print for years, so it’s a delight to have this new, well-made edition, done as a facsimile of the original printing, with a new introduction by the equally erudite and clearly writer James Mosley and a few additional notes that either correct errors in Carter’s text or add more recent information. Like most Hyphen Press books, this one is printed and bound in a way that makes it comfortable to hold and to read, and that ought to make it last a long time.
John D. Berry, creativepro.com (20 October 2003)