Every text a poem with a history. Dirty text, much too clean text.
Typeset yesterday. Weak fonts with no character. Neo-humanist and too thin.
Text reproduced so many times that the serifs have gotten chunky, too chunky. Bleed apparent. Old linotype text scanned and reprinted. Some pages the entire body of text is leaning, akilter. Beckett often is like that. And Genet. Grove Press repros that with bludgeoned type.
Facsimile reprints. Some writers dirty whether freshly re-typeset or not. Bataille, for example. Dirty. A saucer of milk for the young lady to sit in. Thanks, Bataille.
Flannery O’Connor, dirty in a different way. Her collection of racist jokes, her god awfully morbid short stories, all so perfectly wrapped up like petit fours made of cigarette ash.
Type is dirty. Lead type gunked up with ink, typewriters gunked up from years of use. The platen grooved from repeated hammering. Space bar edge surface worn down like ancient marble steps in a museum. Too much walking there, too much pacing.
When type is too clean, on ruinous newsprint paper, the reader feels ripped off. Much prefer heavy folios of 100 lb. text, fibrous, with a distinctly clean smell.
If the words are dirty, all the better. Read the text, eat the text. Lick the spine.
Originally published at rationalfrank.com.