The Book and Beyond

Electronic publishing and the art of the book

Agrippa: a book of the dead

7 April - 1 October 1995

Design Now Room, 20th Century Gallery


This electronic publication or virtual exhibition contains the text of the labels for a display
held in the Design Now Room, 20th Century Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum,
7 April - 1 October 1995.

An introductory screen and colour images of many of the objects have been incorporated in this electronic edition. Apart from a few minor changes, the text is otherwise virtually identical to the pamphlet published to acompany the exhibition in 1995.

Douglas Dodds

© Victoria and Albert Museum, 2001.



With the aid of modern printing technology and computer typesetting, book publishers are able to produce well-illustrated mass-produced publications of a high technical quality. Although there are various strands evident in contemporary publishing, it is nevertheless possible to see a continuum from letterpress printing, through computer typesetting, to electronic publication on CD-ROM or the internet.

Innovations in mainstream publishing coincide with an upsurge in the production of "book art", "book works" and "artists' books", many of which are either unique or available only in limited editions. The National Art Library contains many objects which experiment with the form, content and direction of the book, and this display is based upon material from the Library's collections.

Curated by Douglas Dodds, National Art Library.

Dorling Kindersley Limited
Electronic Book Publishing Europe Limited
Penguin Books Limited
Sony United Kingdom Limited



"... and what is the use of a book," thought Alice, "without pictures or conversation?"

Lewis Carroll. Alice's adventures in Wonderland. 1865


Don't panic.

Douglas Adams. The hitch hiker's guide to the galaxy. 1979


I hesitated
before untying the bow
that bound this book together.

William Gibson. Agrippa: a book of the dead. 1992