Threefold on typesetting of E. Szarzyński’s letters: æstetic–, XeTeX– and a little hacker–wise (in Polish)

Grzegorz Murzynowski
Warszawa, Poland
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The “102 listy” by E. Szarzyński is a series of letters which he wrote to himself just before commiting suicide. Fairy tales like colorful papers with calligraphic handwriting have been bound into a book which by being richly addorned reminds of medieval incunabula. Preparing it for print we decided for one color (black) ink and instead of reproducing the adornments to provide their descriptions which gives our edition a rather conceptual character.

I intend to report on fonts we used and typographical conventions which aim at a clear separation of the editorial level, which describes the original, from Szarzyński’s text, at the same time trying to reflect the conventions used by the author.

The engine I am using since at least half a year is XeTeX, currently in version 0.997. I am using the availability of the OpenType fonts visible with the system, the possibilities to easily declare the features available through fontspec and the new conveniences offered by XeTeX like the pseudo–feature “slant”. I will describe how XeTeX serves the æstetic of a book.

I intend to tell the audience a couple of words about the basic typesetting parameters, such as tolerance and emergencystretch in the context of their role for the appearance of the work.

If time allows, I will present a few tricks, such as typesetting of a fragment longer than a page in such a way that all “t” characters are typeset as crosses (as in the Szarzyński’s original).