This short essay by Heinrich von Kleist advises a burgeoning early-nineteenth-century public to speak to others with “the sensible intention of instructing yourself” – in short, to talk not just about what you already understand, but to dive into conversation with zest and curiosity, with a thirst to learn more and question openly – to relish the pleasures of intellectual discourse, unsure of where it’s headed.

Erik has printed this essay several times over the past 20 years, always in the original German with an English translation. Those modest brochures proved quite popular, especially with English-speaking audiences who are not that familiar with Kleist. When we ran out of all the different reprints and were looking for our first post-pandemic PAPER, we decided to celebrate by going full letterpress.

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P98A PAPER arose in 2016 from an itch to put out a modern magazine that would take an ancient form — real ink printed on actual paper, printed in-house for an audience who likes such things. Before the pandemic, we printed eight issues using different printing methods, from Risograph through digital printing to post-digital letterpress.
Paper 9 Square
This the first PAPER set in two languages: English and German.

At p98a, we practice Preservation through Production. We set the type digitally, sending data directly to our laser (our invention, developed in-house), which in turn burns the type onto metal-backed polymer plates. These are placed onto a magnetic base in a Heidelberg Cylinder letterpress machine from 1954. This brochure has thus been printed from raised letters, just like the old days, except we did not set mechanical type from a hand-written or typed manuscript. That would be a nice nostalgic gesture, albeit not economically sustainable.

So we keep our old presses working, preserving the craft while not denying that we live in the 21st century.

We call it Hacking Gutenberg!

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The English text is set in Monotype Walbaum, a new digital version of the classic that was produced during Kleist’s lifetime
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German text set in Kleist Fraktur (named for the author well after his death), as was the practise for all German language publications until WWI.

P98A PAPER is the work of Susanna Dulkinys, Erik Spiekermann, and R. Jay Magill. This issue is a result of our cooperation between our workshop, P98A, and TOC, The Other Collection.

We printed a limited run of PAPER#9. Letterpress by Daniel Klotz at Die Lettertypen on a 1954 Heidelberg Cylinder press. Sewn with blue yarn.

Buy it here.

Paper 9 Walbaum
Production notes are in English and German and a spread shows the two typefaces used – all in glorious black and white!