by Aldo Novarese
published November 2020
Aldo Novarese (1920–1995) achieved worldwide renown for his extraordinary typefaces. Alfa-Beta reviews the evolution of writing systems and typography from their advent up to the publication of the first edition in 1964. The book showcases a very specific point of view: it is one of very few works on the history of type originally written in Italian, and one of even fewer to have been written by a practicing designer rather than a historian or academic. This edition features four new introductory essays contextualizing the book's original release, highlighting its current relevance, and describing the editorial logic guiding the reissue and its translation.
by Alexander Kluge
published September 2020
Alexander Kluge's work has long grappled with the Third Reich and its aftermath, and the extermination of the Jews forms its gravitational center. Kluge is forever reminding us to keep our present catastrophes in perspective—'calibrated'—against this historical monstrosity. Kluge's newest work is a book about bitter fates, both already known and yet to unfold. Above all, it is about the many kinds of organized machinery built to destroy people. These 48 stories of justice and injustice are dedicated to the memory of Fritz Bauer, determined fighter for justice and district attorney of Hesse during the Auschwitz Trials. 'The moment they come into existence, monstrous crimes have a unique ability,' Bauer once said, 'to ensure their own repetition.' Kluge takes heed, and in these pages reminds us of the importance of keeping our powers of observation and memory razor sharp.
edited by Ilan Stavans; translation of Jhumpa Lahiri's "Letter to Italy"
published August 25, 2020
This anthology takes its title from the last line of Dante's Inferno, when the poet and his guide emerge from hell to once again behold the beauty of the heavens. In that spirit, the stories, essays, poems, and artwork in this collection—from beloved authors including Jhumpa Lahiri, Mario Vargas Llosa, Eavan Boland, Daniel Alarcón, Jon Lee Anderson, Rivka Galchen, Claire Messud, Ariel Dorfman, and many more—detail the harrowing experiences of life in the pandemic, while pointing toward a less isolated future. Together they comprise a profound global portrait of the defining moment of our time, and send a clarion call for solidarity across borders.
by Anna Goldenberg
published June 2020
A defiant memoir from contemporary Europe: In autumn 1942, Anna Goldenberg's great-grandparents and one of their sons are deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. Hans, their elder son, survives by hiding in an apartment in the middle of Nazi-controlled Vienna. But this is no Anne Frank-like existence; teenage Hans passes time in the municipal library and buys standing room tickets to the Vienna State Opera. He never sees his family again. Goldenberg reconstructs this unique story in magnificent reportage. She also portrays Vienna's undying allure—although they tried living in the United States after World War Two, both grandparents eventually returned to the Austrian capital. The author, too, has returned to her native Vienna after living in New York herself, and her fierce attachment to her birthplace enlivens her engrossing biographical history. A probing tale of heroism, resilience, identity and belonging, marked by a surprising freshness as a new generation comes to terms with history's darkest era.
by Dana Grigorcea
published May 2019
Victoria has just recently moved from Zurich back to her hometown of Bucharest when the bank where she works is robbed. Put on leave so that she can process the trauma of the robbery, Victoria strolls around town. Each street triggers sudden visions as memories from her childhood under the Ceausescu regime begin to mix with the radically changed city and the strange world in which she now finds herself. As the walls of reality begin to crumble, Victoria and her former self cross paths with the bank robber and a rich cast of characters, weaving a vivid portrait of Romania and one woman's self-discovery.
by Martin Mosebach
published February 2019
In a carefully choreographed propaganda video released in February 2015, ISIS militants beheaded twenty-one orange-clad Christian men on a Libyan beach. Acclaimed literary writer Martin Mosebach traveled to the Egyptian village of El-Aour to meet their families and better understand the faith and culture that shaped such conviction. In twenty-one symbolic chapters, each preceded by a picture, Mosebach offers a travelogue of his encounter with a foreign culture and a church that has preserved the faith and liturgy of early Christianity. This book is also an account of the spiritual life of a Christian minority in an Arab country stretched between extremism and pluralism, between a rich biblical past and the shopping centers of New Cairo.
by Jost Hochuli
published April 2016
Typophiles Monograph, New Series No. 30. The essay was written as a preface to the publication Adrian Frutiger, son oeuvre typographique et ses écrits (Villeurbanne: Maison du livre, de l'image et du son, 1994), for which the German-language original was translated into French. The original German version appeared later that same year in Adrian Frutiger, Denken und Schaffen einer Typografie, released by the same publisher. Both publications were catalogs that accompanied the traveling retrospective exhibition of Frutiger's work. The essay now appears in English for the first time, translated by Alta L. Price, with a new afterword by the author, written for this new edition. The text is set in fourteen different types designed by Frutiger. Cover printed letterpress by Bradley Hutchinson. Designed by Maxim Zhukov.
by Jürgen Holstein et alia
published October 2015
Part reference compendium, part vintage visual feast for the eyes, this very particular cultural history is at once a testament to an irretrievable period of promise and a celebration of the ambition, inventiveness, and beauty of the book.
by Ariane Roth, Marina Schütz et alia
published November 2015
Home to over 25,000 volumes on art, architecture, design, and photography, the Sitterwerk’s art library began with the bequest of book collector and connoisseur Daniel Rohner (1948–2007).
by Corrado Augias
published April 2014
Exploring his country's cities, history, and literature, cultural authority Corrado Augias elucidates its highs and lows: Michelangelo, but also the mafia; Pavarotti, but also Berlusconi; the debonair Milanese, but also the infamous captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship. This is Italy, admired and reviled, a country that has guarded its secrets and confounded outsiders. Now, as its paradoxes are more evident than ever, the author poses the puzzling questions: how did it get this way? How can this peninsula be simultaneously the home of geniuses and criminals, the cradle of beauty and the butt of jokes?