⟨ Book ⟩

Oliver Byrne’s unfinished work

Euclid's Elements by Kronecker Wallis

Words / Phaedrus Lam
Translation / Ian Tsang

初刷於1482年,由歐幾里得所著的《幾何原本》,是西方印刷史上僅次於《聖經》的銷量亞軍。而在《幾何原本》付梓的四百多年後,土木工程師兼作家Oliver Byrne決定重新修訂本書,他一改原本的純文字編排,配上簡化的圖形說明,其色彩及線條之運用,被認為預示了日後荷蘭的風格派,以及更近代的包浩斯運動。然而不知何故,原訂為13冊的修訂版《幾何原本》,Oliver最後只做了6冊後就嘎然休止,留下了這套不完整的殘本。

Kronecker Wallis是一家熱衷於藝術、科學與文化的獨立出版社,去年於Kickstarter上眾籌募資,經重新修訂,推出新版的牛頓巨著——《自然哲學的數學原理》。最近他們再次進行眾籌,以Oliver Byrnei修訂版的風格為基調,與設計師Laia Guarro合作推出新版《幾何原本》,完成這位故人未竟的出版計劃。

新版《幾何原本》將以20 x 27公分的開本,精裝硬皮封面再次而世。讀者可以到Kronecker WallisKickstarter頁面上,率先欣賞出版社釋出的示範圖。至於想要訂書的讀者,礙於眾籌計劃已經結束,則可能要等到新版《幾何原本》公開發售時才能一睹實物。

Euclid’s Elements, whose first edition was released in 1482, is the second most published book, after the Bible, in the history of publishing in the Western world. More than four hundred years after it came into print, Oliver Byrne, a civil engineer and author, decided to work on a revised edition. Revamping the original word-only layout, he added in graphical explanations, and his use of colors and lines are said to anticipate De Stijl as well as the more contemporary Bauhaus movements. However, for unknown reasons, Oliver suddenly stopped after finishing only six of the thirteen books planned for the revised edition, leaving behind this incomplete set of books.

Kronecker Wallis is an independent publisher with a keen interest in arts, science and culture. Last year, through the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, it raised money for releasing a revised edition of Newton’s masterpiece Principia. Recently, it has again used crowdfunding for the purpose of releasing a revised edition of Elements in collaboration with Laia Guarro, a designer, based on the style of Oliver Byrne’s revised edition, thereby bringing to completion the unfinished publishing project of the late Byrne.

This latest edition will be 20 x 27 cm in format, with a hard cover. Readers can access the Kronecker Wallison’s page on Kickstarter for a glimpse of the sampled pages ahead of the release. Since the crowdfunding period is already over, those readers who want to get their hands on this edition probably need to wait for the official release.