Books and Printing and Mormons. Part 6.

Up until about a century ago, type was set (composed) by hand. This was an art. The type had to be set as the mirror image of the desired document for obvious geometrical reasons.
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Books and Printing and Mormons. Part 5.

Type is regularization/uniformization of handwriting. Handwriting samples are known from before 3,000BC. It is certain that nearly all instances of early writing are lost to the ravages of time and circumstance. Some of the more sturdy methods of recording early writing have survived because of accidental or purposeful preservation. Ancient texts by the ancient Sumerians and for the next two millennia or so, all texts were produced by hand in ink on papyrus, animal skins, on wet clay via wooden stylus, on metal sheets, and so on.
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Books and Printing and Mormons. Part 4.

I don’t want to jump into Mormon printing just yet. It’s a large subject with many interesting aspects. Here I want to mention how some of what I’ve covered so far applies to Mormon works and collections. The terms “recto,” “verso,” “leaf,” “page,” and “folio” are usually appropriated to manuscripts in a way analogous to their use in defining parts of a book.
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Books and Printing and Mormons. Part 3.

When a typesetter/printer talks about space between lines in a book the classical term is leading (placing “leads” between lines). Expressed in points it will usually read larger than the font size. A 12/14 system means 12pt font, 14pt leading. In a book, the normal line length is called the measure. This may be expressed numerically. Like 10/1120. This indicates the book is typeset in a 10pt font, 11pt leading, 20 pica measure. A pica is 12 points (yeah, it’s not base ten folks). A pica is indicated by suffix pc, such as 33pc. 10pc = 120pt.
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Books and Printing and Mormons. Part 2.

Type is a character you put on a page via a sort. A sort is a piece of lead you can use to put a type character on a page by inking it first and then pressing it onto the page. See part 1 for the meaning of page. “Type” gets used as a modifier in all sorts of ways (ok that was a bad one). Like, type setter, designer, cutter, or type foundry.
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Books and Printing and Mormons. Part 1.

I like books and I enjoy the physicality of a book. The cover, the pages and the various special properties that define these things. Just for fun, I’m going to educate the ignorant and open myself to criticism of the educated. So feel free to take your best shot.
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Stemmata for the Funeral Sermons of Joseph Smith

Here’s an example for one of the funeral sermons.

Preaching event at the top. Arrows represent text dependence.

This particular sermon was published in full a comparatively large number of times. The more times in print the more complicated the variorum. In this particular case, one excerpt has appeared (just in recent years) over a hundred times in Church conferences and literature. That is rather unusual and somewhat odd, given the earth shaking stuff you *could* come up with. The stemma reveals the most influential editor: MS2. It is not always easy to identify the real editor of published Church documents and in the typesetting era often more than one set of hands dealt with a given text like this one. Complete texts of Joseph Smith’s sermons tend to be published by the Church at large during in a cycle very similar to this one. Aside from reprinting certain standard imprints like Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and a few independently published versions of the sermons, new “official” imprints stopped after 1952.
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KFD5 (the Sermon in the Grove) and Display Postscript

I’ve been using LaTeX to construct typographical facsimiles for Joseph Smith (JS) sermon docs. The packages available to create “critical texts” are pretty feature rich, but limited in how text can be manipulated. Twenty odd years ago, Steve Jobs started NeXT Computer. The display technology was a breakthrough in a number of ways. One thing it allowed was the possibility to form and shape text like never before. Drag and drop on steroids. Pushing text around, shrinking/growing font size, moving text and characters upside down, sideways, curving it, writing sideways in margins. It was perfect for projects like mine. But it died and nothing like it seems to be available now. This is just a wish for it to return.
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The Grand Unification Theory

[Cross-posted from BCC]

In physics, the holy grail in the present moment is a theory which explains, with the power of prediction, the fundamental things. The things of the small universe (weak force, strong force, electricity, magnetism) the quantum world, and the things of the big universe – essentially gravity. The historical inspiration for this frenzy was the achievement of the Scotsman, James Clerk [pronounced “Goble”] Maxwell. Maxwell proposed a version of this business, which unites the formerly disperate understandings of electricity and magnetism:

Maxwell's Unified Theory

This is a rich explanation which both predicts and accounts for much of what happens in your daily life – from the operation of your cell phone, computer and television – to how your eyeglasses and contact lens behave.[1]
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KFD5: The June 16, 1844 Discourse

Sometimes called the “Sermon in the Grove,” this speech is the last of the Sunday sermons of JS.
I really don’t have too much to say about this right now except that the manuscript evidence is fascinating. Of course you’re reading a text geek here. The manuscript development up to publication in the Deseret News is just downright cool. The variants after that are interesting to me, but the fun part so far is in 1844 and 1855-6. I think that this will result in some changes in the way we see this discourse and its content as a Church (ok, that’s probably over-stepping things, but it is fun stuff). Anyway, it’s a very interesting text and I promise to display some of this as I get things more settled with the gene-critical stuff. Over at BCC I’m going to put up some of the genetic text for KFD2 (King Follett sermon to you) or KFD1, sometime after things die down over there.

Voice and Print – Sermon and Book and Media

Writing somehow reconstitutes (imperfectly and incompletely) a sermon (or any speech) into the three dimensional world. Printing that manuscript fixes that representation much more firmly and reliably, confidently, by making available many copies, exact duplicates, of that thought once expressed orally.

What about the hypertext world? It seems like a retreat. Going backwards somehow. Yes, the website is still there tomorrow, displaying the things that were there yesterday. But the webpage may be edited without trace. The text that was there yesterday may actually be different (even improved) today. But permanence, confidence, is left bleeding on the altar of technology. I exaggerate a little. Books were distrusted in the beginning and for good reason. In the environment of type blocks, sameness was not the rule.

Will the book die? Can the technoverse find a lasting replacement? Independent of server death, ISP disappearance, disk crashes and DVD aging?

A CD is a set of golden plates. You need a seer stone (disc drive) to access it. Unfortunately CDs don’t get Divine anti-aging blessings.

Then there’s the question of authorship. This isn’t the 1800s when the author was king, the center of the textual world. These days it’s the reader. The rabble interprets, creates meaning. That disease even reaches the canon. Oh well.

All of this is a little bit of what I’ve been wondering about as I try to finish up chapter 9 and jump into chapter 10. I mean, how to distribute the final product? Technology always wins. I love Gutenberg, but he may be dead.

Rejuvenated: Brigham, Heber and Co. in New York, 1843.

One of the interesting things about the Manuscript History of the Church, is its blending of sources to create a narrative of events in early Mormonism. Sometimes this effect is submerged by the 1850’s historians decision to unify the text by writing in the first person, as though Joseph Smith himself had penned it. Not an acceptable practice today, it was a common technique among writers of annals and “autobiographies” at the time.
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Summertime and Recycling #7. D&C 107. Part 5.

Continuing part 4.
Here we give the “second” revelation of November 11, 1831 in comparison with the KRB text. The KRB text is in the hand of Frederick G. Williams and it suggests more strongly that indeed the November 11 revelation is two revelations. Observe that the text never uses the word “quorum.” My use of the word in reference to these texts is only to provide context. The word would not appear in Joseph’s revelations until the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants. Moreover, during his lifetime, it would be used in a much looser way than LDS use it now.
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Summertime and Recycling #5. D&C 107. Part 3: More Background.

We continue our discussion of the November 11, 1831 revelation (see part 1 and part 2) with the second portion, in the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery.
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Summertime and Recycling #4. D&C 107. Part 2: Beginning of the Nov. 11 Revelation.

We continue from part 1 with what is essentially that portion of the text of the (second) revelation of November 11, 1831 in the hand of John Whitmer.[1]
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