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The Alphabetic Labyrinth: The Letters in History and Imagination
Synopses & Reviews
The alphabet is at once familiar and mysterious. Its letters have been the object of speculation since their invention almost four thousand years ago; the symbols represent sounds, yet they exist in their own right, often invested with quasi-magical power. Johanna Drucker, who teaches art history at Yale University, examines the imaginative and idiosyncratic ways in which the letters of the alphabet have been assigned value in political, spiritual, or religious belief systems over two millennia.
The first book to explore fully this colorful, poetic, and frequently eccentric realm, The Alphabetic Labyrinth is richly complemented by images that have rarely or never before been reproduced. Drawing on a wide variety of little-known sources, both literary and artistic, the author adds a new and exciting chapter to the history of ideas which will prove fascinating to cultural historians, art historians, and anyone interested in the history of writing.
This text examines the many ways in which the letters of the alphabet have been assigned value in many key systems over two millennia. The book also presents the more general history of lettering, printing and calligraphy, providing an informative guide for art and cultural historians.
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