Re: [PPLetterpress] Harry Kessler
- "The Red Count, The Life and Times of Harry Kessler" is certainly a
great document on one of the 20th century's most fascinating and
important cultural figures. (And it is well-reviewed in Harper's by
none other than Guy Davenport, someone who is always worth reading in
whatever form he chooses.)
Laird Easton does an admirable job illuminating the life of Count
Kessler, and does really well on the nature of his relationships with
key figures like Maillol, Gordon Craig, van de Velde, Hoffmansnsthal,
and events like the first world war and the rise of the Nazis.
Unfortunately, Easton's examination of the publishing of Cranach
Press, Insel Verlag, and Kessler's relationships with Edward
Johnston, Gill, and especially Emery Walker and the Doves Press
legacy, get a disappointingly small amount of attention.
I had gone to the book hoping to find some new insights regarding the
connection to Doves. I am currently preparing a paper for the aiga
education conference in Chicago this fall on the subject of the Doves
legacy and its impact on Weimar's typographic revolution. "Red Count"
does well in establishing the climate of Weimar in the twenties and
its embrace of modernism, but Easton shows little grasp of typography
and its role in the modernist revolution.
Associate Professor, Visual Communications
Washington University, Saint Louis
314.935.8402 x 1 office