Robert Bringhurst

Robert Bringhurst is a poet, typographer and linguist, well known for his award-winning translations of the Haida storytellers Skaay and Ghandl, and for his translations of the early Greek philosopher-poet Parmenides. His manual The Elements of Typographic Style has itself been translated into ten languages and is now one of the worlds most influential texts on typographic design. Among his most recent publications is a pair of essay collections, The Tree of Meaning (GP, 2006) and Everywhere Being is Dancing (GP, 2007). Bringhurst lives on Quadra Island, off the British Columbia coast.


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The Solid Form of Language
Robert Bringhurst

2004 / Essays / $19.95
9781894031882 / Trade paper / 80 pp


"Drop a word in the ocean of meaning and concentric ripples form. To define a single word means to try to catch those ripples. No ones hands are fast enough." With this concise and broadly informative essay, renowned poet, typographer and linguist Robert Bringhurst presents a brief history of writing and a new way of classifying and understanding the relationship between script and meaning.

Beginning with the original relationship between a language and its written script, Bringhurst takes us on a history of reading and writing that begins with the interpretation of animal tracks and fast-forwards up to the typographical abundance of more recent times. The first four sections of the essay describe the earliest creation of scripts, their movement across the globe and the typographic developments within and across languages.

In the fifth and final section of the essay, Bringhurst introduces his system of classifying scripts. Placing four established categories of written language - semographic, syllabic, alphabetic and prosodic - on a wheel adjacent to one another, he uses the location, size and shape of points on the wheel to show the degree to which individual world languages incorporate these aspects of recorded meaning. Bringhursts system is based on an appreciation that indeed no ones hands are fast enough and that no single script adheres to or can be understood within the confines of a single method of transcription.

Readers will find this combination of anthropology, typography, literature, mathematics, music and linguistics surprisingly accessible and thought provoking. The text is accompanied by diagrams and typographic examples that make for an experiential study of the relationship between writing and meaning.

This book is a Smyth-sewn paperback with a letterpress printed jacket. The book was designed by Robert Bringhurst and Andrew Steeves, and printed on Zephyr Laid paper. The cover was hand-printed letterpress on St. Armand handmade paper.

Review:
Robert Bringhursts seminal essay about the nature and classification of written language is now available, revised and updated, in the form of a small, well-made book Get a copy, stick it in your pocket, and go off and contemplate all the forms the written language can take. John D. Berry for creativepro.com

It takes a special kind of mind to worry over such issues; it also takes a special kind of writer to so clearly lay them out. Carmine Starnino, Globe and Mail

After reading ths impossibly exquisitely designed little treatise, one can never see or hear language again as a simple necessity, but as an element of life itself like water. George Elliott Clarke, Halifax Chronicle Herald

Other Books by this Author

Selected Poems
Robert Bringhurst

2009 / Poetry / $27.95 CAN / $27.95 US
9781554470686 / Trade paper
Ursa Major
Robert Bringhurst

2009 / Poetry / $21.95 CAN / $21.95 US
9781554470600 / Trade paper
The Tree of Meaning: Thirteen Talks
Robert Bringhurst

2008 / Essays / $31.95 CAN / $31.95 US
9781554470242 / Trade paper
Everywhere Being is Dancing: Twenty Pieces of Thinking
Robert Bringhurst

2007 / Essays / $49.95 CAN / $49.95 US
9781554470471 / Hardcover
The Tree of Meaning: Thirteen Talks
Robert Bringhurst

2007 / Essays / $49.95 CAN / $49.95 US
9781554470259 / Hardcover
Everywhere Being is Dancing: Twenty Pieces of Thinking
Robert Bringhurst

2007 / Essays / $31.95 CAN / $31.95 US
9781554470440 / Trade paper
The Typographic Mind
Robert Bringhurst

2006 / Essay / $1.00 CAN / $1.00 US
9781554470327 / Pamphlet
Ursa Major
Robert Bringhurst

2003 / Poetry / $21.95 CAN / $21.95 US
9781894031660 / Trade paper

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