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The Chemical Wedding by Christian Rosencreutz
by Johann Valentin Andreae, translated and annotated by John Crowley

Client: Small Beer Press
Scope: cover and interior design
Published: 2016

I designed the 400th anniversary edition of The Chemical Wedding by Christian Rosencreutz, a book written by Johann Valentin Andreae, which was originally published in 1616, and is one of the foundational texts of Rosicrucianism, as well as possibly the first science fiction novel. This special edition, published by Small Beer Press, was translated and annotated by author John Crowley, and illustrated by Theo Fadel.

The project was a fun challenge. The text itself is dense with hidden meaning and several pages include images, diagrams, and alchemical inscriptions, all of which I scanned from extant online copies of early editions of the work. Crowley’s annotations fit throughout the text in a second color, and Fadel’s illustrations punctuate the narrative and accentuate the strange, absurdist tale.

For the most part, I did my best to stay out of the way, creating a clean and clear design, only adding ornamentation on pages facing new chapters, and then creating the title text design.