The Hermetic Press, 2023. Item #3550
Black wrappers with silver stamping, 10 x 7 in., 40 pp., housed in plexiglass slipcase. Printed letterpress on Johannot in red, blue, green, and black ink, with hand-sewn binding.
A recent book by poet and printer Philip Gallo that explores the nature of typography and language as representational—another screen between text and reader—and the political ramifications of this.
In this work, Gallo probes the concept of "cancel culture"—a loaded term that alludes to the idea of "calling out" individuals or organizations for perceived transgressions. The term itself has been debated extensively in interdisciplinary discourse, with scholars like Lisa Nakamura suggesting that cancel culture can create accountability, and journalists noting that the effects of cancel culture rarely occur as the public might perceive them.
Gallo, using a variety of both roman and Cyrillic typefaces, composes short and content-rich essays on typographical history and precision, as well as the cultural milieus of type. In doing so, he relates typographic expression to the political question of representation.
Quotations and subjects include Edmund Wilson's "Word Fetishism," old Russian orthography, Pantone and Black Lives Matter, Montaigne, John Ruskin's "Of the Pathetic Fallacy" from which the title derives, The Royal Society Dictionary of Gardening, Gill Sans, Ralph Ellison, and Vladimir Nabokov.
The frontispiece of this book is from the first appearance of the Hermetic Press imprint in 1966, after Gallo began printing in 1965. The title page features a print date of 2021, which the colophon notes was in fact 2023 due to the pandemic.
This is no. 3 from an edition of 31 copies, of which 1–26 are press-numbered, and five are lettered A—E. Signed by the poet/printer. Fine.