AN ENGLISH ALPHABET
De Spectatorpers, 1961
Designed by Bram de Does and printed by him and Gerard van Beusekom at De Spectatorpers.
Published in an edition of 110 copies.
This absolute gem of a book was the first publication from Bram de Does’ Spectatorpers, and what a start. It consists of twenty-six alphabetically arranged poems translated into English by Fred van Leeuwen, plus a short essay and bibliography on Pierre Kemp. The setting – entirely in Romanée – is a perfect example of what I’d describe as the Enschedé style; beautifully elegant and restrained with great attention to the finer points of spacing and layout. The presswork is near-on faultless, which is quite an achievement for a first book (as is the fact it was later judged to be one of the year’s best designed books).
I couldn’t believe my luck when I found a copy as it is one of those rarities that just don’t seem to crop up. And it’s in great condition, signed by both the poet and translator, whereas the edition was supposedly only signed by the author.
The books from De Does’ press have done nothing but improve over the years, but even if they’d stayed at the level of this first offering they would still put most fine press printers and typographers to shame.
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