Abstract

This examination of three works by Johanna Drucker, 26 '76 (1976), from A to Z (1977) and Against Fiction (1983), all printed letterpress, focuses on the formal properties of typography and its capacity to extend the meaning of a written text. Handsetting metal type necessarily focuses one's attention on the specificity of written language as a sequence of discrete letters. Each has properties of size, weight and shape; and placement and type styles can be widely varied. The technical constraints of letterpress tend to conserve the norm in the representation of language: line after straight line of a single typeface. The author's intention in deviating from these norms has been to extend, rather than negate or deny, the possibilities of meaning by encouraging plural readings at the levels of the word, the line and the page. Other issues such as the relation of language to experience, to literary tradition or to the social context in which it is produced are investigated.

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