This is the central site for a long-term project to research, examine, and respond to the radical collective of writers, theorists, architects, and visual artists who operated in Paris between 1829 and 1835 under the names of the Jeunes France & the Bouzingo, and through them to build a critical understanding of French Romanticist subculture through the historical lens of a continuing politically vigilant Anglophone avant-garde.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Firmin Didot

The Romanticist typographer Fermin Didot was part of the third generation of a respected typographical family; his father had invented the 'point' system still used to measure type, and his brother and cousin were also important typographers and printers. The modern 'Didot' font that he designed is only part of the massive influence that he exercised over modern typography, exploring extreme variations in stroke-width and in vertical/horizontal orientation of the form. Fermin pioneered the use of moveable type to mimic the human hand in calligraphic writing; this was often extended beyond letter-forms to create abstract ornaments of loops and arabesques.
Firmin Didot's anagram, showing his characteristic calligraphic stroke.
These ornaments, in addition to the combination of multiple typefaces in title material, including exaggerated and visually insistent fonts, became staples of Romanticist book design and were particularly important elements of the Romanticist keepsake anthologies published by Janet, who often worked closely with Didot, most notably the Annales Romantiques anthologies.

Didot also invented stereotypography, a process that revolutionised the printing industry by exponentially cutting the labour and expense necessary to reprint additional runs of a single edition.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Le Gastronome

Le Gastronome was an eclectic Romanticist illustrated journal published from 1830 until around 1858, focused on the "frivolous" forms of art and entertainment (according to its masthead, "The Pleasures of Taste, Relaxation, Concerts, Balls, Theatres"). It was founded by Bibliophile Jacob (Paul Lacroix), the archivist, historian, and frenetic novelist. Its writers and editors included Théophile Gautier and Gérard de Nerval of the Jeunes-France group, the historian Henri Martin, and others. By 1852, it was edited by André Borel-d'Hautrive, brother of the Bouzingo co-founder Petrus Borel.