by A. Schutte
This edition was printed by Johanna Drucker on the letterpress at the Adams House of the Bow and Arrow Press at Harvard University. The printing required three runs: one for the large, black wooden letters, one for the smaller black metal type and one for the red copperplate field.
by J. Drucker
typographic: The book depends on frequent use of paragonnage, the combination of many sizes of type within the same line or even word. The typography creates the word play, locking letters, morphemes, words into multiple syntactic structures. Many faces were used to create contrast of weight and style, but as this was done letterpress, all were locked into upright forms.
graphical: The page design is structured around the large letters that spell out THE WORD MADE FLESH. So each design is distinctive, but the main letterform is generally placed in a central part of the page.
sequence: The title letter sequence determined the length and order of the book.
other features: Originally the cover was to have a "distressed" wound or puncture in it, to further reinforce the religious overtone and heretical character of the book. Seemed too kitschy.
This project worked as a book on the strength of the typographic argument. The theme of word made flesh and the counter theme (written in the red copperplate field) of the flesh made word, are so completely integrated into the presentation, and in such an unequivocal, graphically striking manner, that the theoretical issues are rendered explicitly. No stronger argument for materiality could be made than one that reads and shows this point. By remaining legible, committed to legibility, the work does something that many attempts at calling attention to materiality aren't able to do, since they often sacrifice the textual production for a graphical effect. That the two are intimately bound, in the incarnate word, is shown here. The language is funny, filled with citation and paraphrase of sacred and secular texts, vulgar and crude, literal and allusive, mobile.
The opening sequence is meant as a play on Noam Chomsky's deep structure to surface structure transformations. As if the series of letters were a kernel and the transformations wrought, page to page, are turning it from a deep structure notion to a final syntactically correct statement. A joke, of course, but one that returns to the subtitle: at the interior of language, in the interior of the tongue. Another reference, this to Saussure, in the place between langue ane parole, tongue and speech, here of course obviated by the absence of speech so that language and langue (the system and the tongue) are put into contrast, rather than speech acts and language system. nonetheless, the work is a "speech act" -- that is, it is a "writing act."
The first page with all the elements present shows the way the illusion of a field and figures work. This is another common theme across several books, in particular Figuring the Word takes this up. But the black texts are meant to "figure" against the red ground, as the images of Christ, a cross, or other devotional images are called out in carmina figurata.
The Word Made Flesh
born: United States
active: United States
citizenship: United States
note: The first edition was entirely created by Johanna Drucker and published by Druckwerk [A. Schutte]
location: 568 Broadway, Suite 403 New York, NY 10012
note: Granary Press published a second edition of The Word Made flesh; it is a facsimile of copy 50 of the original edition with different covers. [A. Schutte]
note: Rivetted by Philip Walsh. This is actually a joke. He did help, but he was a friend, not a binder. [J. Drucker]
edition type: editioned
place: Bow and Arrow Press, Harvard University.
note: This edition was printed by Johanna Drucker in December 1988 and January 1989 in an edition of 50 copies. [A. Schutte]
horizontal: 12.6 inches closed
vertical: 10.6 inches closed
depth: .2 inches closed
binding: other riveted, block format
bookBlock: paper Mohawk Superfine
endsheets: paper Japanese white tissue and red Moriki end papers
ink (local) black and red ink
other materials: rivets
format: codex (AAT)
cover: The cover is a thick, metallic bronze paper from Lindemeyer Munroe with inside flaps that fold almost completely back into the binding. The title "The Word made Flesh" appears in all capital letters with The Word Made in Huxley vertical on the bottom of both the front and back covers. The last word: "Flesh" appears in bold and is printed with wood type. On the back cover, "Druckwerk" is printed in all capital letters directly under the title. The edition is bound with three metallic rivets vertically on the left side.
color: yes black and red only
pagination: unpaginated 52 pages
This book was printed by Johanna Drucker between December 1988 and January 1989 in the sometimes torrid, frequently frigid, basement of Adams House at the Bow and Arrow Press, thanks to the good graces of Gino Lee and Jim Barondess. Special thanks to Gino Lee for all kinds of assistance, to Charles Steele for company, and Philip Walsh for rivetting. The paper is Mohawk Superfine and the type is some of everything linear.
manuscript type: mockups
location: artist's archive
note: Drawings, prep work, mockups.
manuscript type: financial
location: artist's archive
note: All the receipts, etc. are in the tax records and accounts. Some of the records of sales are as well.