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Production Narrative

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.

Critical Analysis

by J. Drucker

Design Features

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.

Critical Discussion

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.

Detailed Analysis

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


Johanna Drucker

type: initiating


born: United States
active: United States
citizenship: United States

birth: 1952-05-30

note: The first edition was entirely created by Johanna Drucker and published by Druckwerk [A. Schutte]

Granary Press

type: initiating


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]

Philip Walsh

type: other


note: Rivetted by Philip Walsh. This is actually a joke. He did help, but he was a friend, not a binder. [J. Drucker]

Publication Information

edition type: editioned

publisher: Druckwerk

place: Bow and Arrow Press, Harvard University.

publication: 1989-00-00

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

Production Information

production means:
letterpress (local)

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

numbered?: numbered

signed?: signed


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.

Related Documents

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.