PUBLISHING AND BOOK DESIGN IN LATVIA 1919 - 1940: A RE-DISCOVERY.
Fraser, James H.
- Riga: Neputns, 2014.
- 9 x 11 inches
- 336 pages
- ISBN 9789934512186 / Order Nr. 120366
- Price: $65.00 other currencies
Using over 700 color images of illustrated book covers and wrappers, this book presents a fascinating view of the remarkable, and as yet unheralded, creativity which characterized publishing and book design in Latvia between the World Wars. The majority of covers shown herein were made by artists or designers commissioned by publishers to attract potential buyers. It is through these illustrated covers and wrappers for books (and, for comparison, covers of selected periodicals, sheet music, and a few posters) that a glimpse of the "look" of the Latvian book during the Independence - late 1919 to the summer of 1940 - emerges.
This visual exploration of a rapidly vanishing chapter in 20th century publishing history is given context by an overview of the historic book culture of interwar Latvia, giving special attention to company histories, the often colorful careers of prominent designers, artists, and publishers, as well as how the political situation in Latvia dominated and influenced much of what was published. The work is divided into sections, each covering one of the four major language groups in Latvia: Latvian, Russian, German and Yiddish.
The book also features the personal reminiscences of the author, showing how he gained his longtime appreciation for the creativity and richness of Latvian publishing and book design, describing how he became involved in such a challenging project, and explaining why he found the subject so compelling and important that he devoted the last years of his life to this work.
Such an extensive work on this topic has never previously been undertaken, so this book will prove valuable to cultural historians, artists, graphic designers, as well as those who might lack a clear (or any) image of "the Latvian book."