The Surface of Meaning: Books and Book Design in Canada

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CCSP Press, 2008 - Design - 239 pages
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"The design and manufacture of books can tell as much about a people or a culture as the ambience of its streets and the architecture of its buildings."In our everyday lives, books surround us-even if we are among the many who never read another one after high school. Their very jacket design asks us to make meaning of their presence and, when we open them, the layout of words and stories within their covers makes us readers-even before we begin to read.To Robert Bringhurst, typographer, poet and writer, the presence of books and the story of books in Canada are preludes to understanding our culture.From the tattered book of Canadian poetry your moody cousin carried everywhere, to the pristine hardcover book of Atwood's latest work in your brainy co-worker's hands, book design says much about who and where we are as Canadians.In The Surface of Meaning, Robert Bringhurst takes us on another of his walking tours, this time through the bramble of English and French-Canadian books and book design, from the mid-18th Century to the present day. Along the way, he discovers a true "image trove" of identity, culture and history. And he does what no other work on books and publications does: He creates a truly national survey of Canadian books by bringing Canada's long history of Aboriginal story-telling into a context of "book". It is a context that goes into the depths of our prehistory, far beyond the printed page.The Surface of Meaning is a tribute to Canadian books and publishing. It is irresistible to readers who love books, as well as to designers and others, who may simply prefer to look at them.

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About the author (2008)

Robert Bringhurst (Vancouver) is a poet, typographer and author. His many diverse publications include Everywhere Being is Dancing, Ursa Major and The Elements of Typographic Style.

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