L’Origine II: Ancestry

8.12.2013

 

 

“The types that currently bear the name of the great sixteenth-century punchcutter Claude Garamond…do not always have the same characteristics, a disconcerting factor that interferes with their ready identification.”  

 

—Alexander Lawson, Anatomy of a Typeface

 

I am descended from the Garamond.
My line springs from the foundry of his mighty loins.

 

The man, the myth, the font.
Born “Garamont”
(the name was altered by a later printer),

 

he published handsome books
and decked out French
with rakish accent marks and pirate hooks.
Also apostrophes. (Which turned possessive
only when pirated by Englishmen
around the time my family crossed the Channel.
In France, they just elide.)

 

Genealogy, obsessive
pastime of people short on family pride,
confirms my claim.
I am the last true Garamond. (I hear
Geneviève snort: If that is your real name.)

 

 

 

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