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Published 1997 | 59 pp
9 1/2" x 9 3/4"


Printed paper over boards w/ cloth spine
Edition size: 40

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Prove before Laying: Figuring the Word
by Johanna Drucker

Prove before Laying is a book about the constraints and limits of language as a system (within the rules of grammar and syntax and orthography). The limit of a single font of type is the finitude of the letters – the actual number of "e's" or "a's", while the limits of what can be stated are constrained by conventions. The initial phrase of the title derives from the foundry label on new type advising the printer to proof the font before setting it. "Figuring the word" refers to the process of drawing into focus a text latent within the letterpress font in a statement about aesthetics, language, and thought. Accompanying this is a second text, printed from polymer plates, which addresses the history of writing as technology, mythology, and cultural form.

The book is printed letterpress in red and black, on Rives Lightweight, in an edition of 40 copies, case-bound in boards printed by the artist/author.


Page Details
Cover large
p. 17
p. 29
p. 49
p. 53

To Figure Out What Is Happening: An Interview With Johanna Drucker

Johanna Drucker

Links to Other Sites
Johanna Drucker homepage
Artists' Books Online entry

Related Titles
Johanna Drucker | The History of the/my Wor(l)d
Johanna Drucker | The Word Made Flesh
Johanna Drucker | Testament of Women
Johanna Drucker | Damaged Spring: Pink Noire
Johanna Drucker | Narratology
Johanna Drucker | Against Fiction

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