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Production Narrative

by J. Drucker

Produced using stone lithography and hand-set, letterpress. I had trouble keeping the edges of my stone clean, so I made a frisket and printed through it, hence the "raised" edge of the frame. Cutting the paper was a pain, since we had no paper cutter. And thus the pages are a bit uneven. Otherwise? Not much I can recall, except that it was amazing to see it come into being.

Critical Analysis

by J. Drucker

Design Features

typographic: Asymmetric throughout

imagery: Illustrations look like children's book work but aren't.

graphical: Not a strong statement, graphically. The pages just hold their own. Vignettes work to bleed image and text into each other in true Romantic mode.

openings: Size and scale relations are fairly well thought out.

development: Story, and the complex images are at the end.

Critical Discussion

What to say about a book of infantile sexuality written in rhythmic, rhymed prose code?

Dark, The Bat Elf Banquets the Pupae


Johanna Drucker

type: initiating


birth: 1952-05-30

note: This was produced while I was in art school. [J. Drucker]

Publication Information

edition type: editioned

publisher: self-published, retrospectively, Druckwerk, but not at the time

place: Oakland, California

publication: 1972-11-15

edition size: 13 copies


horizontal: 8" x 8" inches closed

Production Information

production means:
stone litho (local)
letterpress (local)

binding: hand sewn (local) Sewn, glued, awkwardly cased.

bookBlock: paper Rives
endsheets: paper Rives

ink (local) Litho ink and letterpress ink.

other materials:


general description: Red velvet covers, very appealing to the touch, and creamy, thick paper with drawings both give this an antique children's book feel, but the production values are somewhat quirky and even amateurish.

format: codex (AAT)

cover: Boards covered in red velvet with a cut-out image of "Dark" pasted on.

color: no


pagination: unpaginated

numbered?: numbered

signed?: signed


Printed in Times New Roman on Rives.

reception history: A very funny incident occurred. I sent a copy of this book to Lawrence Ferlinghetti at City Lights. I received a message from a young man poet, David Volpendesta, in San Francisco, who was part of a group of young writers around Philip Lamantia, the old (aging) surrealist. The note was exuberant, filled with praise, excitement, enthusiasm for the work. Who are you? It read. Who can you be? We want to meet you. We are reading your book out loud to each other. Where in this world did it come from? I was thrilled and wrote back that I would love to meet them/him. I dressed in some ridiculous sailor blouse (I had a weakness for them in those years, left over from my childhood) and a little blue pleated skirt. I went to get on the bus to go across the bay to San Francisco and the bus driver said, "Oh, you know, you only have to pay half fare." (He thought I was under 16, though I was 21 by then, but very thin and young looking, true enough, plus the ridiculous little-girl outfit). I did go to see them, stayed with David in the city in his apartment (all very chaste) he lived in North Beach. We met Lamantia. I became friends with David, other friends of his, and from time to time saw Lamantia as well. But he was a committed surrealist still, and I was not, it all seemed too retro to me, a historical paradigm, not a contemporary one. And the event did not exactly launch a career, as I had imagined it might, but it did give me a sense of the possibilities of publication and was my first entree into a world of literary persons and circles that was way beyond the student realm.