de brevitate vitæ is a meditation on the shortness of life. Paired with handmade paper that changes color gradually from white to black is the beginning of the essay On the Shortness of Life by the Roman author Seneca. Each spread contains a phrase from the work which exhorts the reader to make much of life. The transformation of the paper’s color creates a metaphorical equivalence between a book read and a life lived. The text of the last page, black ink on black paper, cements this conclusion: We are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that [life] has passed away before we realized it was passing. The ending of the book presents the reader with his or her own mortality.