Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Man With a Beard

The English translation for the title of this 1961 Czechoslovakian book, Monolecky, Muze s Plnovousem translates to Monolecky, Man With a Beard. It was written by Jiri R. Pick (1925-1983) and brilliantly designed by Milos Noll (1926-1998) who took great liberty with the display of the text.
      The book is quite small at 5x7 inches, and has 144 pages filled with such playful typography, one could easily mistake it for a children's book at first glance. Noll plays with combinations of advertising cuts and printers' ornaments throughout the book and manipulates the mostly sans serif letterforms in every direction to create his images. At times he even weaves the actual text into some of his illustrations. Everything was fair game to Noll. Even the publisher's logo, MF (Mlada Fronta), on the back of the dust jacket is taken hostage. The endflaps of the dust jacket as seen below are remarkable, if only for the challenge of setting large text in such narrow, justified columns (hence all the hyphens) and they boldly bookend the entire text quite nicely. Sorry, but I have no idea what the significance of the border of 8s are doing there on the endflaps. Matter of fact, I don't even know how to characterize this story, except that I've read that it's sort of a comic satirical verse about music, writing and theater. If anyone knows differently or can read and discern some of the story from the text in these images, please let me know.    

Title page.

Chapter opening which I believe translates to complex, or it's complicated.

The impressive Table of Contents which curiously appears near the end of the book. 
The copyright | publisher's page on last page. 
The hardcover binding which Milos Noll also designed.
:: Via the Letterology Archives.
Apologies for the lack of diacritical spelling in the Czech names. Blogger was choking on them today. 


  1. Monotraps of the man with a beard. J. R Pick was well known satirist.

  2. Once again I am "lost in translation"! Thanks again for the rescue Josef!

    Now what does "Monotraps" mean?

  3. Is there any way to purchase this book or do you know where to get it? I think it's genius and would be very proud to have one in my bookcase.

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