Josefine KlougartJosefine Klougart is an author. She lives an works in Copenhagen., Denmark.
I cherish beautiful books. Books that are made to be read again and again – and get even more beautiful that way. In time. Books whose cover elegantly and intelligently represent the writings they carry on the inside. The connection between the different dimensions of the book.
I grew up in the countryside, in a home with stocking – everything in canned food and this week’s offer, take four pay only for three and so on and I do not own that many extravagant things. But among the few valued items I own is an edition of J.P. Jacobsen’s Niels Lyhne in a wonderful binding with red leather and embossing. Handmade paper.
The book is bound by the legendary binder Anker Kyster (1864-1934) and I bought it for part of the advance payment from my third novel. A devote advocate for bookbinding in Denmark, Kyster was president of the Association of Book Craft that awarded my latest book On Darkness two prizes of honor for best book work and best book binding.
In 2013, I initiated a collaboration with graphic designer Thomas Joachim Winther and book binder Malene Lerager, and together we have designed and produced a hand bound special edition of On Darkness in 100 numbered copies. It’s my own personal rebellion against e-books, insisting on the value of the book as an aesthetic object; as a piece of art able to communicate with the literature it contains. I printed the paper with Thomas: A graphic single-color print of a forest in the twilight by the beach on Nordfyn, silhouettes of the trees from a place where a pivotal scene in the book takes place. The book has a clean and melancholic expression that aligns well with the story’s narrator who is trying to figure out a way to talk about the loss and the love, in spite of or through the darkness.
Furthermore, there is a silhouette of a branch embossed in gold on the front cover, and the dark leather and the classical presentation of title and author resembles a biblical publication. It’s been my goal to create a book with biblical references – to encourage the reader to use the book as a creation one can get back to throughout life. Not necessarily read from end to end, but delve into, get lost in, leave on the shelf and discover again. A book you live with. And a book that even gets prettier as time and life unfolds around it.