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Delight of men and gods: Christiaan Huygens's new method of printing

Kindel, E. ORCID: (2009) Delight of men and gods: Christiaan Huygens's new method of printing. Journal of the Printing Historical Society, 14 (new se. pp. 5-40.

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This study gathers together surviving materials associated with a new method of printing – effectively stencil duplicating – invented by the seventeeth-century mathematician, physicist, and astronomer Christiaan Huygens. The materials, which include Huygens’s autograph account of the method, printed samples, a printing plate, and correspondence of Huygens and others, are subjected to several forms of analysis and scrutiny. These are: (a) the detailed physical examination of artefacts (held in Leiden and London), to ascertain the nature and process of the printing work, the difficulties encountered by Huygens, and the qualities of the samples he produced; (b) close readings of the classical Latin texts Huygens employed for his samples and printing plate in order to detect conceptual relationships between the texts, the method of printing, and broader philosophical ideas; and (c) the tracing of discussions about the printing method in Huygens’s correspondence, exchanged with the Royal Society in London. Huygens’s new method of printing is then considered relative to contemporary printing methods intended to emulate or reproduce handwriting (autographic), or which were used to mark out texts using stencils; the method is also assessed as a forerunner of subsequent printing methods that, in the later nineteenth century, culminated in stencil duplicating.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Typography & Graphic Communication
ID Code:22131
Publisher:The Printing Historical Society


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