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Boustrophedon

– Out of Print –

Boustrophedon cover

Boustrophedon: an ancient mode of writing in alternate lines, one from right to left and the next from left to right, as fields are plowed. This book is a field, the reader the harvester of its gifts. As a landscape poem, the words are the guide and the reward. The Book of Songs, a collection of ancient Chinese poetry and songs, inspired the English words of the book. Particularly inspiring verses are reproduced in traditional Chinese script, written out by Vivian Koo, and serve as a balance to the English text. The ten voices conversing in this book are those of the printers at the Scripps College Press during the spring of 1999. The song that blooms out of the landscape is paced with the reader’s movement. Creation happens spontaneously between all things, leaving behind a preconceived linear experience in which the journey must end. This book asks to be read from both directions. It was inspired by Cheng Chi’en’s The Three Perfections, which describes the harmony between poetry, painting and calligraphy. These unite in lyrical storytelling, cast across a spacious landscape. The open space, a traditional element in Asian Art, incites the dialogue between text and image. The reader is allowed to journey through and complete the landscape. The Asian aesthetic is carried by Japanese paper water-marked with Japanese calligraphy and by Chinese binding. Our choice of paper allows for flexibility, which is a hallmark of Asian books. Deepening our concept of balance, Cheng Chi’en’s The Three Perfections explains the ideal harmony of painting, calligraphy and poetry. Chinese books achieve this unique balance by using one implement, a brush, to create the images and the writing. In Western book production, cooperation between the elements is more difficult to achieve. Developing a visual narrative is the ultimate goal of our book. It not merely an anthology of authors, it is a unified work derived from a shared vision. The challenge facing the class was to produce a cohesive book influenced by both Western and Eastern ideals. Our book is printed by letterpress in Scripps College Old Style typeface, 14 and 16/18 point. Imagery was created using cut paper under the tympan and with cut linoleum blocks. The text is printed on Japanese calligraphic paper which enfolds the printed image. The watermarked calligraphy is a letter from someone who was ill. Upon recovery she gives thanks for the kind support of a friend. Every double-page spread is stamped with personal seals which were carved in China. There are 77 copies in the edition. The size of the book is 9.375 x 12″. The book is bound in red calligraphy paper and is housed in a gold and black cloth case held closed by bone clasps.

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Scripps College Press 1030 Columbia Ave. #2025 Claremont, CA 91711 Attn: Tia Blassingame
If you would like more information, please call (909) 607-3866.
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