Complete with numerous color plates of the personalities, type specimens, and related illustrations, the book satisfies the cravings of the biography lover while serving as eye candy for the typophile, bibliophile, and Italophile. No less would be expected from Boston-based publisher David R. Godine, the independent press with a reputation for fine design and vision of books as works of art. With Lester's refreshingly disarming tone distinguishing the book from many dull biographies or condescending art history tomes, this is the perfect marriage of project and publisher. - Sheri Caplan for Bookslut
Giambattista Bodoni: His Life and His World is the first English-language biography of the relentlessly ambitious and incomparably talented printer Giambattista Bodoni (1740-1813).
This fine book goes beyond Bodoni's capacity as a printer; it examines the life and times in which he lived, the turbulent and always fragile political climate, and the fascinating cast of characters in his life. The illustrations-of the city, of the press, of the types and matrices-are compelling enough, but most striking are the pages from the books he designed. And especially, pages from his typographic masterpiece, the Manuale Tipografico, painstakingly prepared by his wife Ghitta, posthumously published in two volumes, and displaying the myriad typefaces in multiple sizes that Bodoni had designed and engraved over a long and prolific career.
Intriguing, scholarly, visually arresting, and designed and printed to Bodoni's standards, this title belongs on the shelf of any self-respecting bibliophile. It not only makes for compelling reading, it will be considered the biography of record of a great printer for years to come.
Valerie Browne Lester is an independent scholar, writer, and translator living in the Boston area. She is the author of Fasten Your Seat Belts! History and Heroism in the Pan Am Cabin (1995), which is a history of Pan American told in the voices of its cabin crew; and Phiz, The Man Who Drew Dickens (2004), a biography of Hablot Knight Browne, Dickens’s principal illustrator (who was also her great-great-grandfather). Her biography of the great Italian printer Giambattista Bodoni (1710-1813) Giambattista Bodoni: His Life and His World was published by David Godine in September 2015.
In addition to her books and her translation of Alain-Fournier’s Le Grand Meaulnes (The Magnificent Meaulnes, 2009), she has written poetry, plays, and articles, including “A Bird’s Eye View of Nepal,” for The Atlantic Monthly.
She is currently at work on a cooperative biography of Clarence Bicknell (1842-1918).