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Barbarian Press
Books Forthcoming

Wood engraving by Edwina Ellis
(from A Christmas Carol, 1984)

Wayzgoose Pamphlet Number Two
The Dingbat: a Picaresque Etymology, with Examples
Spring 2023

The Marriage
of True Minds

An Anthology for an Anniversary Chosen by Jan & Crispin Elsted, with various engravings
Spring 2023

Bordering on the Sublime
Ornamental Typography at the Curwen Press
Early to mid-2024

Wayzgoose Pamphlet Number Two

The Dingbat: a Picaresque Etymology, with Examples

Spring 2023

The second Wayzgoose Pamphlet will discuss the etymology of ‘dingbat’, which is both multifarious and somewhat baffling. The word has travelled in many guises, taking some time to make a home in the composing room of printing offices. This essay documents some of the more curious of them, although we have been unable to establish the reason behind many of the usages the word has accumulated. The text is based on a long endnote Crispin decided not to use in its entirety in Bordering on the Sublime – “Waste not, want not” being a recurring theme in the world of letterpress printing, especially at Barbarian Press.  

Like most presses, we have acquired a large number of dingbats through the years, so several pages will be devoted to a display of some of the more interesting and unusual examples from our cases. Since for well over a hundred years ‘stock cuts’ were used in advertising to designate dentists, ironmongers, livery stables, optometrists, butchers and so on, these are readily available. The most interesting examples are more purely decorative: classical images of gods and drooping damsels with lyres, stylized floral arrangements, cityscapes, animals, holiday images, or elaborate borders with putti busy about this and that. We anticipate an enjoyable few hours making choices and laying out the pages. Obviously for many of them this pamphlet will provide the only possibility of an appearance. A quick census taken recently suggests that to show them all would involve a tightly packed octavo of several score pages, so we will have to be selective.

150 copies. 8½ by 5½ inches [216 by 140mm]. 12pp. Hand-set in Joanna in red and black on Mohawk Letterpress, with wood engraved headpiece by Sarah Chamberlain, and numerous examples of dingbats. Sewn into printed wraps of St-Armand Canal.
PRICE: C$55.00

Visit our Ordering page to place an order for this title.