Friday, July 23, 2010

The Elements of Euclid, a review by David R. Godine

Imagine my surprise to see mentioned by The Barnes & Noble Review (on Twitter, in all the unlikely places) of our own illustrious publisher as reviewer! David R. Godine there offers his thoughts on The First Six Books of the Elements of Euclid. It is a book dear to him not because he has any special affinity for Greek geometry — he might, actually, one never knows — but because this volume was published in its original ground-breaking form by a favorite press, “the great William Pickering,” in 1847. He writes:

“What is it that is so appealing about this book? Part of it, to be sure, is the colorful triangles, squares, and rhomboids that make up Byrne's argument. Part of it, too, is the total incongruity of the Victorian initials by the supremely talented Mary Byfield, not to mention a text that presents medial s's that had been abandoned by most printers five decades earlier. There is a tension between the colorful, modernistic shapes and the archaic typography. As in all Whittingham printing, the registration of the four colors is perfect, no mean feat for a book that was undoubtedly printed on a hand press. Despite the poor paper (I have never seen a copy that was not badly foxed) this book now fetches a higher price than any title that Pickering issued — well into the five figures.”

Read the rest of his review at The Barnes & Noble Review.

No comments:

Post a Comment