- New York: The Typophiles, 2003.
- 6 x 9.5 inches
- 33+(1) pages.
Price: $30.00 other currencies
Order Nr. 76549
Typophile Monograph - New Series, Number 18. 500 years ago, with the publication of a small octavo Virgil, the modern printed book emerged due to Venetian printer Aldo Manuzio (Aldus). Previous to this, the printing press had been seen primarily as a means of mechanically reproducing manuscript books.
It was Pietro Bembo (1470-1547) who gave Aldus the idea for the small format of his books. Bembo also gave Aldus the device of the anchor-and-dolphin, that most famous of all printer's marks. More importantly, Bembo obtained for Aldus many of the manuscripts that were necessary for his publishing program. As one of the first editors, he introduced methods and standards, as well as punctuation we now take for granted through which he wrote one of the earliest Italian grammars and assisted in establishing the Italian literary language.
Most people recognize the Bembo name due to the classic Bembo typeface, which was actually a re-cut by Stanley Morison in 1929 of Aldus' first Roman type, originally cut for Pietro Bembo's De Aetna (1495). To follow tradition, Morison simply named his new typeface after the author of the book for which it was first used.
Amusingly, Pietro Bembo's name is known today for a text he did not write and a type he did not design. But he had one of the most extraordinary careers of his age and is worth remembering for his many contributions to the book and to literature, particularly in his association with Aldus in the creation of the modern form of the book. In many ways Bembo was, to paraphrase a line of Ariosto, the "foster father" of the book, and, like a modern father, was there assisting at its birth. Distributed for The Typophiles.