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I have been reading a nice old edition of The Sun Also Rises, by Hemingway. The printing has a peculiar effect, to my eye, which I'm trying to understand.
Namely, this: the type appears somewhat grayish,like a 60% or 70% gray, consistently throughout the book. Looking at the title page and the chapter heads, where the strokes are a bit wider, I can see it is slightly uneven, and also that the very edges of the letters are slightly crisper and darker. It gives a feeling of letterpress, although I'm sure it wasn't printed that way. Certainly there is no impression as would be left by a heavy press. And anyway, it is a mass-produced edition. The text is very pleasant because of this color.
How might this have been printed? With what technology, I mean? Something that would leave those crisp edges but not any depressions in the paper surface. Would the ink have faded, or was it always so gray?
It comes from Charles Scribner's Sons in the USA. It doesn't have a page of library data (to my surprise) but it does say the copyright was renewed by the author in 1954. I would imagine it was printed sometime within the 10 years following that.
It doesn't matter, but to shore up the account: the typeface is something very much like Caledonia, although I haven't detected the exact variant, and I think the entire book is in the one face—title page and all. There's no colophon or anything of ceremony. There appears to be some sticky matter on the inside front cover and first leaf, as if it has been a library book or something—but it's very well-preserved if it was ever in a library.