During this extremely early stage of dreaming up a model for digital scholarly editions of Henry James’s fiction, I’ve had the most pleasure thinking about fonts. Some of the excitement activates roughly the same neurons as when I browse pearl strands online: the sheer decorativeness of typefaces makes gazing on their forms, emptied of content, rewarding enough. Still, the very allure of particular fonts depends on their historical weight as past uses of the font for particular texts in particular contexts subtly shape your expectations of the words embodied by that font. A typeface is crucial for the transmission of meaning, not a superfluous decoration independent of it.
A few mornings ago, I received a heart-stopping email from a concerned typesetting editor in charge of the upcoming edited collection, Henry James Today (edited by John Rowe), for which I’ve contributed my essay “Toward a Digital Henry James.”