The Translated Latrine Inscriptions of The Palazzo Davanzati
By Simon Cutts
Clonmel, Tipperary, Ireland: Coracle Books, 2015.
Second edition, 300 copies.
4 x 5.75"; 12 pages. 4-page laminated cover. Saddle-stitched binding. Printed digitally.
Originally printed in 1993 in an edition of 200 copies as a cloth covered hardback.
Johanna Drucker, 1993 edition Project Statement: "The book contains transcriptions and translations of graffiti found in the latrines of the Palazzo Devanzai which was built in Florence in the 14th century. Some of the inscriptions are dated, some are not, all are translated. The book also provides a floorplan of the interior of the Palazzo showing where the graffiti were found. The book is a slim, elegant work, designed with a clean and minimalist aesthetic, as a curiously human document through its traces of experience and expression captured from the walls and obscurity."
Simon Cutts, afterword: "The Palazzo Davanzati in Via Porta Rosa, Firenze, … contained not only one of the first sewage systems, but also perhaps the first graffiti in the form of inscription on the lavatory walls. These may have been produced by citizens, who whilst waiting their turn to be assessed for land valuation, killed time and found an outlet for their impatience by writing on the walls. All of the inscriptions were made by unskilled hands, often devoid of the most rudimentary notion of spelling. The words also prove difficult to decipher both because they are at times barely distinguishable from the plaster surface, and because they have often been superimposed over each other. On occasions, as a result of an unusual character being included in the word, doubts are raised as to whether a number of them have been adulterated by later additions."