Taras Press is a private press and type collection in London printing and translating poetry in Arabic, Syriac and English with metal and wooden type.
The meanings of the word 'Taras' reflect the place of mechanical printing processes in the digital age.
In Arabic طرس can refers to both tirs – an overwritten manuscript, or palimpsest; and tars – a stamp used in printing Arabic amulets. This usage is also linked to the etymology of the Italian tarocchi – tarot cards. In Spanish and Italian, taras means ‘tares’ or ‘rejects’, from Arabic taraha - طرح - to subtract. In Syriac the root ܬܪܨ means ‘to make straight, direct’ reflecting the timeless power of the printed word to guide.
Taras Press took its beginning with a few Adana hand-presses, and a generous loan of Arabic and Syriac type from the St. Bride Foundation, originally from the Oxford University Press. The constant advice and encouragement of the Jericho Press has also been a vital support to our first faltering steps.
Taras Press has collaborated with Paekakariki Press to cast monotype sorts from some of the few remaining Arabic matrices still in circulation, on loan from the Whittington Press. We are not aware of any other Arabic type being cast elsewhere in the world. Further work is underway for the design and production of Taras' own type in-house.