I try not to look at "argument" as a clash but more as an exchange of
ideas. Opposing thoughts can often help clarify, bring new information
to the table, etc.
A dilettante, hmmm. He didn't seem to have had access to a lot of
outside money that would provide the luxury. Don't know how to respond
to that. If he was a journalist though, wouldn't he have been one of the
first? So maybe Plimpton is a Moxon? But, yes, he did do as you say.
Thankfully though, as this is our only record of the early practices of
some of these trades, particularly that of printing. The major flaw in
Moxon's reporting that really lends credance to your view is his
description of the type foundry. He seems to have gotten a lot of this
wrong (as suggested by the Oxford editors), apparently because he was
not privy to the carefully guarded secrets of the trade. His own
castings were off, as if he was missing some vital technique or
ingredient. He did a pretty good job of trying to cover this over though.
> Plimpton was a dilettante, a journalist who participated in various
> trades/professions to write about them. I always had something of the
> same view of Moxon: he studied various arts in order to write about
> In a general sense I am not arguing with you, since the points you make
> about photography and the usefulness of decent libraries in allowing us
> a broad view of the field of typography are very interesting. I am
> always thankful that typography and printing history have remained the
> preserve of practioners and amateurs, and have avoided being taken over
> by academics.
> Michael Barnes