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Renowned typographer and poet Bringhurst brings clarity to the art of typography with this masterful style guide. Combining the practical, theoretical, and historical, this edition is completely updated, with a thorough revision and updating of the longest chapter.
"Poems, where I come from," writes Robert Bringhurst, "are spoken to be written and written to be spoken. The Tree of Meaning is a book of critical prose composed in the same way." Together, these thirteen lectures present a superbly grounded approach to the study of language, focusing on storytelling, mythology, comparative literature, humanity, and the breadth of oral culture. Bringhurst's commitment to what he calls "ecological linguistics" emerges in his studies of Native American art and storytelling, his understanding of poetry, and his championing of a more truly universal conception of what constitutes literature. This collection features a sustained focus on Haida culture, the process of translation, and the relationship between beings and language. Compiling ten years of work, this book is remarkable not only for the cohesion of its author's own ideas, but for the synthesis of such wide-ranging perspectives and examples of cultures both human and nonhuman. Applying his trademark enthusiasm and ecologically conscious, humanitarian approach, Bringhurst produces a highly personalized and active study of Native American art and literature, world languages, philosophy, and natural history.
The Haida world is a misty archipelago a hundred stormy miles off the coasts of British Columbia and Alaska. For a thousand years and more before the Europeans came, a great culture flourished in these islands. The masterworks of classical Haida sculpture, now enshrined in many of the world's great museums, range from exquisite tiny amulets to magnificent huge housepoles. Classical Haida literature is every bit as various and fine. It extends from tiny jewels crafted by master songmakers to elaborate mythic cycles lasting many hours. The linguist and ethnographer John Swanton took dictation from the last great Haida-speaking storytellers, poets and historians from the fall of 1900 through the summer of 1901. His Haida hosts and colleagues had been raised in a wholly oral world where the mythic and the personal interpenetrate completely. They joined forces with their visitor, consciously creating a great treasury of Haida oral literature in written form. Poet and linguist Robert Bringhurst has worked for many years with these century-old manuscripts, which have waited until now for the broad recognition they deserve. Bringhurst brings these works to life in the English language and sets them in a context just as rich as the stories themselves--one that reaches out to dozens of Native American oral literatures, and to mythtelling traditions around the globe. The world of classical Haida literature is a world as deep as the ocean, as close as the heart and as elusive as the Raven, whose unrepentant laugh persists within it all. This is a tradition brimming with profundity, hilariy and love. It belongs where Bringhurst sees it: among the great traditions of the world. Bringhurst, an acclaimed typographer and book designer, will be redesigning this edition in a beautiful new package.
"An invaluable book on how to be and not to be, on work and dedication, on the inner life of scholarship, and on life and death in the Old Ways."--Gary Snyder. This astonishing Chipewyan story cycle from one of the unsung heoroes of Native American literature reveals a rich and nuanced picture of traditional life and thought in the northern Athapaskan world.
In this companion volume to The Tree of Meaning, Robert Bringhurst collects twenty essays under the subversive principle that "everything is related to everything else." His studies build upon this sense of basic connection, and involve the work of poets, musicians, and philosophers as varied as Ezra Pound, John Thompson, Don McKay, Empedokles, Parmenides, Aristotle, Skaay, Plato, George Clutesi, Elizabeth Nyman, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Dennis Lee, and Glenn Gould. The value Bringhurst places on the process of translation, the dialogue between one language and another, and the sheer experience of witnessing translation by reading and hearing poems, stories, and songs in their original languages is another strong presence in this collection. Accompanying the English narrative are passages in Tlingit, Haida, Chinese, Greek, German, Cree, and Russian, for readers who want to find the patterns and taste some of the vocabulary for themselves, for those interested in meeting the languages partway.
For the past four decades, Robert Bringhurst has been writing some of the most powerful poetry in English. Distinguished by engaged and passionate curiosity, a wide-ranging intelligence and true originality, his poetry has sometimes been mistaken as austere and opaque. In fact, his work engages in ideas about the human condition, myth, the natural world, language and philosophy, and is unusual for having both a pared simplicity and profound wisdom. His watchword is clarity, and the elements he considers crucial to effective typography could just as easily be looked for - and found - in his poetry: 'invite the reader into the text; reveal the tenor and meaning of the text; clarify the structure and the order of the text; link the text with other existing elements; induce a state of energetic repose, which is the ideal condition for reading.' There is such relish for the tactile, physical nature of words, for spare, elemental imagery and for rhetorical weight - in the voice, and the sound of the voice - that each poem has a sense of gem-like purity. While Bringhurst's work may not be the most fashionable poetry being written today, it is certainly amongst the most compelling in its truth, power and beauty.
In 1951, as a student of anthropology in Oregon, Gary Snyder set himself to the task of analyzing the many levels of meaning a single Native American myth might hold. He Who Hunted Birds in His Father's Village is the result of Snyder's critical look at a Haida tale that was told by the great oral poet Ghandl (Walter McGregor) to John Swanton sometime before 1905. A version of the ubiquitous "swan maiden" story, it tells of a chief's son who falls in love with a wild goose-girl, and follows her into the sky. Snyder goes deep into the transformations that occur in this myth, considering versions of the myth from around the world. He writes: To go beyond and become what--a seagull on a reef? Why not. Our nature is no particular nature; look out across the beach at the gulls. For an empty moment while their soar and cry enters your heart like sunshaft through water, you are that, totally. We do this every day. So this is the aspect of mind that gives art, style, and self-transcendence to the inescapable human plantedness in a social and ecological nexus. The challenge is to do it well, by your neighbors and by the trees, and that maybe once in a great while we can get where we see through the same eye at the same time, for a moment. That would be doing it well. Old tales and myths and stories are the koans of the human race. Our new, expanded edition of this groundbreaking, multidimensional study includes a new introduction by Robert Bringhurst, together with unpublished journals, a poem, and a new afterword by Gary Snyder.
This new edition of a collaboration between one of the finest living artists in North America and one of Canada's finest poets includes a new introduction by the distinguished anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss. Ten masterful, complex drawings by Bill Reid and ten tales demonstrate the richness and range of Haida mythology, from bawdy yet profound tales of the trickster Raven to poignant, imagistic narratives of love and its complications in a world where animals speak, dreams come real, and demigods, monsters, and men live side by side.
Hermann Zapf was one of the great practitioners of the graphic arts and Palatino is probably the most widely known and used of all Zapf faces. Author Robert Bringhurst traces Palatino's development, with all its infinite permutations, and often invisible refinements through a long and fascinating history of variations and permutations, imitations and conflations-from hot metal, through the brief interlude of film setting and finally into the digital world. It is all here, in encompassing detail: a fully illustrated account of Palatino and its extended family: foundry and Linotype, Michelangelo, Sistina, Aldus, Heraklit, Phidias, Zapf Renaissance, PostScript Palatino, Palatino and Aldus Nova, and Palatino Sans. Included with the text are over 200 illustrations of design sketches, working drawings, smoke proofs and test prints, matrices, foundry and Linotype patterns. But beyond that, the book is an argument that artists who create letters can, and should, be judged by the same standards and held in the same esteem as composers who write music and artists who paint on canvas. Bringhurst asks the question, "Can a penstroke or a letterform be so beautiful it will stop you in your tracks and maybe break your heart?" In this groundbreaking and totally original book, he answers the question: "It can."
"Truth-filled meditations about grace in the face of mortality." @MargaretAtwood In this powerful little book, two leading intellectuals illuminate the truth about where our environmental crisis is taking us. Writing from an island on Canada's Northwest coast, Robert Bringhurst and Jan Zwicky weigh in on the death of the planet versus the death of the individual. For Zwicky, awareness and humility are the foundation of the equanimity with which Socrates faced his death: he makes a good model when facing the death of the planet, as well as facing our own mortality. Bringhurst urges readers to tune their minds to the wild. The wild has healed the world before, and it is the only thing that stands any chance of healing the world now -- though it is unlikely to save Homo sapiens in the process.
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