What would Laurence do?

hez_coverPrinting sermons is not usually our sort of lark, but that’s our current project for the Laurence Sterne Trust. Working on it reminds us of our enthusiasm for what Francis Meynell called “allusive typography”, the art of designing a book to recall, or allude to, another typographical era.  This is not facsimile printing, the task of slavishly following someone else’s design, but something we think is more fun–using historic typographic conventions as inspiration for a current project. DSCN0638For the printed style of The Case of Hezekiah and the Messengers, one of Laurence Sterne’s last sermons, we’ve drawn on other 18th-century printed sermons, including this small volume of Sterne’s sermons which were published in 1766 under the name of Mr Yorick, Sterne’s clerical alter ego in Tristram Shandy.  For this first separate edition of the sermon, we have kept the Caslon type of the original, the sometimes curious punctuation and Sterne’s emphatic dashes, but dispensed with the long s and the catchwords at the foot of each page. As well as this print version of the text, Hezekiah is going to be delivered at York Minster as part of Voice from the Pulpit in celebration of the Laurence Sterne Tercentenary, and is available with other sermons on a CD from Shandy Hall.

The sermon speaks directly to our times – As his monument in Coxwold churchyard reads in part:

                                         Sterne was The Man, who with gigantic stride

                                          Mowed down luxuriant follies far and wide.


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One response to “What would Laurence do?

  1. Robert Greenwood

    Shandy’s Physicians is an exhibition at the Library of the Royal Society of Medicine to mark the tercentenary of Laurence Sterne (1713-1768), clergyman and author of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, originally published in nine volumes between 1759 and 1767.

    The exhibition consists of a display of books from the Society’s library illustrating aspects of Sterne’s life and the many references to the medical literature in Tristram Shandy, and includes works by Robert Burton, Rabelais, Edward Baynard, Sir John Floyer, Tobias Smollett, James Atkinson, John Ferriar, Charles Collignon, John Hill, Richard Mead, Sir Richard Manningham, James Mackenzie, Licetus Fortunio, van Deventer, Giuseppe Francisco Borri, Ambroise Pare, Tagliacozzi, Jerome Cardan, Julius Scaliger, James Drake, Thomas Wharton, and Regnier de Graaf, as well as John Burton, on whom one of the novel’s characters, Dr Slop, the man-midwife who arrives at Shandy Hall to deliver the infant Tristram, is clearly based.

    The exhibition can be seen on the second-floor of the Library from 4th November 2013 until 25th January 2014.

    Admission free. Open to all.

    The Library, Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole Street, London, W1G 0AE

    Opening hours: Monday—Thursday: 9.00—19.00
    Friday: 9.00—17.30
    Saturday: 10.00—16.30

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