Reading Type Specimens: From Cicero to Spoonie Diddel, Ladies Ciceone

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There is more to the texts of type specimens than the ubiquitous "Quousque tandem abutere…" of Cicero's first oration against Catiline. Careful reading of type specimens, especially those of the nineteenth century, reveals widespread patriotism, jingoism, and cultural chauvinism; historical and literary allusions; references to topical events; wordplay, sophomoric humor, and parody; and bald self-promotion. Unfortunately, they also contain racist, sexist, and xenophobic comments. In sum, type specimens are more than just a collection of pretty faces. They are a window into the attitudes and concerns of the past. This particular event will focus on 19th century American type specimens.