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WATCH THIS SPACE
At the end of 2020, it is intended to open up subscriptions for a new letterpress edition of only 60 copies of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, which plans to be the magnum opus from the Press to date.
The format of the book plans to be c. 330pp., presented as a large foolscap folio, measuring c. 13 x 10 inches. The book will be bound with a cloth spine and original printed pattern paper boards, housed in a solander box. The endpapers will also be printed with a unique design relevant to the text.
The edition is limited to 60 individually numbered copies, with no possibility for more to be printed.
The text is presented across a two colour page spread.
Acting as a border to the main text, which it surrounds in part, each page features a continued and repeated border of The Principles of Newspeak, the fictional language of Oceania, in 8-pt Times Italic, a face conceived by Stanley Morison in 1931 and entirely appropriate given that "the leading articles in the Times were written in" Newspeak. This usually unread ending to 1984 is here forced upon the reader, albeit subtly by virtue of the text size. It is presented as both a footnote to the tale, as well as a constant reminder of the pervasiveness of language manipulation as a means to control.
The main text is set in 12-pt Lutetia, regarded as classic, restrained and beautiful. It is the most famous face designed by Jan van Krimpen, the influential calligrapher, book and type designer.
The type will be dissed after printing and it will not be possible to print the edition again.
A third colour illustrative eye is also present on every page, a further form of invasion on the reader. In total, three colour runs will be required for every text page.
The edition is printed on smooth white watermarked Zerkall 145gsm paper.
Whilst many books employ illustrations that can be easily rendered via alternative printing methods, or by mass production, this edition specifically seeks to include an illustrative form that can only be presented in the most limited of means, as each illustration is printed by letterpress, using wood and metal types and ornaments, and on hand-made paper.
There are intended to be 24 tipped in broadside posters, each printed one at a time by hand, on an Albion iron hand-press, limited in number. Each setting is then dismantled. The hand-made papers include those from a range of paper mills that are both now no longer operating as well as those still making paper by hand.
These posters feature both representations of specific posters featured in the text of 1984, such as the very opening of the story, where the second paragraph starts:
‘The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats. At one end of it a coloured poster, too large for indoor display, had been tacked to the wall. It depicted an enormous face, more than a metre wide: the face of a man of about forty-five, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome features’;
whilst others are imagined settings or aspects of the text presented in illustrative form. The style of these broadsides will be in keeping with themes of: propaganda, deep-state, avant-garde, and dystopia.
In this manner, these illustrations immerse the reader into the story more than any other style of illustrative depiction of events from the text could. These are real and tactile ephemera inspired or from the events of the novel. In addition, as a result of the nature of the medium of letterpress, each poster in every copy is to an extent unique.
The price per copy, payable in instalments, is expected to be £2,284, with an initial deposit of £300 required to pre-order, and thereafter generous flexible payment plans offered for up to the date of publication for the balance of £1,984 plus p&p.
It is possible that a Special Edition will make up a small number from the limitation and if so, this will be offered as an upgrade to the main edition to all those who have pre-ordered, offered in the order in which they first subscribed to the edition. Early notification of this will be given and further flexible payment plans offered for the cost.
The edition is expected to be released before December 2021 and will hopefully be the definitive letterpress edition of this influential text for the foreseeable future.
Demand is expected to be high, so early subscription is advised.