The type used for this book is Monotype Blado, Series 119, released by the Monotype Corporation in 1923 and named for Antonio Blado, a Roman printer active from 1515 to 1567 who was appointed as papal printer in 1535. Blado, and its roman companion Poliphilus, were among the first typefaces that Monotype undertook in its ambitious program to revive historic typefaces. A 1927 specimen sheet sheet tells us that “extra sorts for use in various kinds of antiquarian printing have been cut and may be incorporated without trouble in the matrix-case” and a goodly number of those were used in this edition. The ch, sh, th, and wh ligatures have been put to good use in the English translation, and the Italian benefits from the gg and zz ligatures and other alternates. We like to think that the playfulness of the typography complements the exuberant spirit of the text. In some ways this typeface was a warm-up to the arguably more elegant Monotype Bembo, Series 270, issued in 1929. It certainly would have been appropriate to set this book in the italic that bears Bembo’s name, but it is worth recalling that the typographic model that Monotype used for this italic was a typeface attributed to Ludovico degli Arrighi and printed by Antonio Blado in 1539, the same year that Bembo was named a cardinal. It is not unreasonable to think that they may have met each other in Rome in the course of Blado’s activities as papal printer.  

 

The typecasting was accomplished with the assistance of an ingenious computer interface invented by Bill Welliver. It communicates directly with the Monotype composition caster and controls it in the same way as would a traditional paper tape punched on the keyboard, making it possible to weed out errors in advance and also anticipate hyphenation and justification issues. 

 

The printing was executed on a Heidelberg flat-bed cylinder letterpress by Bradley Hutchinson, who also cast the type at his letterpress workshop and typefoundry in Austin, Texas. The paper is a scarce mouldmade sheet from the 1980’s, no longer manufactured, from the Magnani mill in Pescia, Italy.  

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