Tag Archives: book

Folios and quartos



Back in the early days of printing and paper manufacturing, there weren’t standard sizes yet. On the other hand, they did have standard names for a book’s format:
A press sheet folded in half was called a folio. You get 2 leaves or 4 pages.
If you folded the press sheet again, you get a quarto—4 leaves or 8 pages. It’s half as big as a folio.
If you folded the press sheet one more time, you get an octavo—8 leaves or 16 pages. It’s one-fourth as big as a folio.


Of course you can keep folding, at least until you get so many pages the paper won’t bend anymore. These formats get called duodecimo, sextodecimo, octodecimo…

Back to the beginning of The Western Civ User’s Guide to Reading & Writing.

Don’t forget: I wrote another Western Civ User’s Guide! Back to the beginning of The Western Civ User’s Guide to Time & Space.

It was bound to happen

As you probably guessed, somebody figured out that if you can sew pages to one another to form a long scroll, why not sew them all together along one side? Yup, they did it and it worked! The pages are sewn along the left side. Not only that, they put a hard cover around the whole thing to protect the pages. This is called binding, and the style of book is called ‘codex.’



A codex book can be held in one hand and you can use a bookmark to remember a specific page.

Wow! Lots of photos show the process of binding a codex book—
https://nyamcenterforhistory.org/2013/04/04/modeling-history-making-a-stiff-board-parchment-binding-with-a-slotted-spine/
https://katebarberblog.wordpress.com/tag/single-cord-sewing/
You can even bind your own book— https://www.amazon.com/Bookbinding-VENCINK-Supplies-Binding-Large-Eye/dp/B075XK8RZ1

Back to the beginning of The Western Civ User’s Guide to Reading & Writing.

Guest blogger: Ilene Winn-Lederer

It would be madness to cover the Hebrew alphabet without asking my pal (and Western Civ User’s Guide Irregular) Ilene Winn-Lederer to contribute some thoughts and a few examples of her fantastic calligraphy using Hebrew letterforms. Click on the links to view more of her work. Thanks, Ilene!



John: Since you will likely cover the technical origins of Hebrew from its Paleo-Aramaic roots to modern usage, here are my personal thoughts on my use of the language in my work.

First, I find the old and new forms of the alefbet fascinating for the following reasons:

I did not grow up in a religious home nor experience a formal Hebrew school education. Coming at the Hebrew culture/language from a mostly outsiders’ perspective, I did not speak it at all but learned to read it gradually through native speakers and informal classes through the years. Ironically, because my grandparents generation came to the US from Eastern Europe, Yiddish was my first language as a child. Anyway, I viewed Hebrew letters as simply beautiful art forms with great design potential. My mystical understanding of the alefbet also came from personal informal studies/classes.

Rimmonim means pomegranate

On that note, here are thoughts from my ‘Alchymy of Alphabets’ collection at my web gallery:
While there have been myriad renditions of the Hebrew alphabet throughout history on stone, carved in wood, crafted in metal, drawn in manuscripts, books, art and calligraphy, I’ve rarely seen any that explore these beautiful letterforms outside the box of their traditional appearance. In 2008, for my portfolio with PaperRoad Art Licensing LLC, I designed a group of illustrated English alphabets whose theme defined the shape of each letter. This year, I’ve decided to work that concept into the Hebrew alphabet. With identification in Hebrew and English, Abundance weaves some of the abundant flora of Israel into the letters that brought all into being.

Finally, here are links to prints available from that gallery: http://www.magiceyegallery.com/GalleryPage.aspx?id=11

Also, my Hebrew calligraphy appears on a collection of holiday greeting cards at: https://m.greetingcarduniverse.com/search/go?w=Ilene%20winn%20lederer&ts=m

Back to the beginning of The Western Civ User’s Guide to Reading & Writing.