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EIMI – E. E. Cummings (Covici Friede, 1933)

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Jun 26th, 2019. Artwork published in .
    Jacket
    Source: https://www.instagram.com Peter Harrington Rare Books via jonwbenedict. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Jacket

    First edition of EIMI (“I Am”), E.E. Cummings’s stream-of-conscious travelogue of his 1931 trip to the Soviet Union, published in 1933 by Covici Friede.

    The book was designed by Samuel A. Jacobs who was an avid user of Weiß-Initialen. He must have done an extraordinary job with this book: The colophon states that “[t]he author joins with the publishers in congratulating S. A. Jacobs; who designed the format of EIMI, solved all technical problems connected with the typesetting and printing, and from start to finish personally supervised the book’s production.”

    The typography for the cover, the spine, and the title page uses Weiß-Initialen II which was released by the Bauer foundry two years earlier, in 1931. The author’s first name initials are rendered without periods, and twice as a pair of Weiß’s alternate uncial Es. The second letter looks like it’s mirrored. With metal type, it’s not possible to mirror type, though, at least not directly. If you look closely, you can see that the middle bars don’t quite align – the E is not mirrored, but simply turned upside-down.

    Like the cover, the jacket is also purely typographic and shows exclusively uppercase letters printed in black. The chosen typefaces, however, are quite different. The front features Paul Renner’s Futura in three weights; fett, mager, and halbfett, which were all among the first batch of the series released in late 1927. The spine uses yet another typeface, again very different in style, but also German in origin: It’s Rudolf Koch’s Neuland (1923).

    Jacket
    Source: https://www.instagram.com Kurt Gippert Bookseller via jonwbenedict. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Cover (front and spine)

    Jacket
    Source: https://bid.alexcooper.com Alex Cooper. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Title page

    EIMI – E. E. Cummings (Covici Friede, 1933) 4
    Source: https://www.burnsiderarebooks.com Burnside Rare Books. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Typefaces

    • Weiß-Initialen
    • Futura
    • Neuland
    • Caslon

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