Natural Enemies Of Books

A Messy History Of Women In Printing And Typography

Natural Enemies Of Books (paperback, 2019, Occasional Papers)

paperback, 176 pages

Published May 1, 2019 by Occasional Papers.


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4 star (1 review)

The Natural Enemies of Books is a response to the groundbreaking 1937 publication Bookmaking on the Distaff Side, which brought together contributions by women printers, illustrators, authors, typographers and typesetters. It highlights the print industry’s inequalities and proposes a takeover of the history of the book.

Edited by feminist graphic design collective MMS (Maryam Fanni, Matilda Flodmark and Sara Kaaman), Natural Enemies includes several new essays and poems by Kathleen Walkup, Ida Börjel, Jess Baines and Ulla Wikander. It also offers conversations with former typesetters Inger Humlesjö, Ingegärd Waaranperä, Gail Cartmail and Megan Dobney as well as reprints of the original book.

fascinating for a narrow audience but the reprints are the best part

4 star

So if you're interested in the 1937 volume Bookmaking on the Distaff Side, this is a fascinating response to it, with reprints from it and two essays about about that book came to be. Bookmaking on the Distaff Side was a "potluck book" (as one of the essayists describes it) that a group of women bookmakers jointly created by each woman printing her own gathering of her contribution, and then sending it off so that all the individually printed sections could be gathered and bound into a single volume of 100 copies. It's a delight! (You can see a digital black-and-white facsimile of it at HathiTrust Go look at that instead of reading this, unless you want to know the history behind it.