Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Why Renaissance Typography Is Awesome Sometimes
The "Descending" or "Long S" is ubiquitous in Renaissance publications; a holdover from Carolingian minuscule handwriting and black letter print. Usually, it just makes reading original texts a bit more difficult, but on rare occasions, when you least expect it, the EEBO Gods will give you a spectacular typographical gift. Therefore, I give you examples of the "long s" paired with variations of the totally innocent word "suck." The results -- outstanding.
I, for one, can't wait to "fuck the abundance of the seas." Can you? And even though it was common to begin words starting with "s" like this well into the 17th century, you know that the typesetters had to have known what they were doing. (Try as I might, I couldn't find the line about the "sucking babe" that began my obsession with the long s, but I remember it made me laugh out loud. In a library. As I was looking at EEBO. It was awesome and depressing all at the same time. At that moment, I came up with this hilarious and soon to be popular insult: "SUCK YOU! WITH A LONG 'S'!" (Man, I'm funny.) I'll leave you with an awesome Shakespearian example:
Whoa, Friar Laurence, slow down! You're a man of the cloth, for Christ's sake!