[ Maret, Russell ] Æschylus and Henry David Thoreau, trans. Prometheus Bound. New York: Russell Maret. 2007.
This version of Prometheus Bound, the famous play by Aeschylus, was designed and printed by Russell Maret using Henry David Thoreau’s 1843 translation. Attempting to resolve the difficulties presented by the layout of a play, with its repeated interjecting character names, Maret was able to capitalize on the fact that in the play no more than two characters are talking at any one point in time. He assigned the left or the right side of a page to a particular performer on stage, elegantly printing the character’s name in red at each entrance, and then justified their lines on a central axis down the middle of the page. This innovative design results in spikes of text protruding to the right and left of the central axis, recalling the image of Prometheus pinned to the cliff.
The text is accompanied by an original frontispiece drawing that Maret created with smoke. The text for this publication was digitally composed in Fred Smeijers’ typeface Quadraat and the lettering on the title page is derived from an alphabet Maret drew for an earlier commissioned book, The Passion of Ss. Perpetua and Felicity (2000). Maret printed the book from photopolymer plates on Buckskin, a cotton paper made for this edition by Twinrocker Handmade Paper.
The binding of this book was executed by Judith Ivry. It is quarter bound with beige goatskin and Twinrocker’s “Arthur’s Prairie” paper. The front and back boards are decorated with two more drawings each made with smoke. The title is blind tooled on the leather spine. Heavyweight light grey endpapers, deckled edges at the tail, and endbands of grey bookcloth complete the binding. A clamshell box covered in black cloth protects the book.
This book was created in a limited edition of 50. This is copy 41, signed and numbered by the artist. It is accompanied by a pamphlet-sewn prospectus letterpress-printed in black, grey, and red inks and featuring photos of the book and letterpress-printed in black, grey, and red inks.
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