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The Collation


Just like “Fernweh”—the opposite of “Heimweh” or one’s longing for distant countries—the German word “Fingerspitzengefühl” is almost impossible to translate. Literally it refers to the sensitivity of one’s fingertips and it expresses an accurate knowledge or a delicate feeling that some people have for certain things or situations. It is a conviction which you cannot precisely express, but about which you feel certain. An equivalent for “Fingerspitzengefühl” may be intuition—a form of knowledge and awareness of something which remains mainly implicit and which is difficult to convey.

Most of us have an intuitive knowledge about typography. Over time we have all built up an internal time scale for the looks of books enabling us easily to distinguish the mise-en-page of books published fifty years ago, books a century old, and books printed during the ancien régime. All books from a certain period have characteristic features in common, and even if we cannot exactly tell what those features are, the more books we have seen, the more accurate our intuition. 


I would be grateful for your views on two other questions. Do you suppose that Broughton really expected the Privy Council to read his little book ? Was the idea that the Lords would be sent copies anonymously, it being too dangerous to admit to having such a text ? The introduction – as far as I can read it from your photo – appears innocuous (not to say tedious !) How soon do we reach the substance of the book ? The title page gives no indication of the author’s argument except that it is a defence to a previous work which he recognises may have been thought unlawful.

John Drackley — November 14, 2013


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