17th out of 22 books — 14 voters
Alphabetic Labyrinth: The Letters in History and Imagination
The letters of the alphabet have been the object of speculation since their invention almost 4000 years ago. The symbols represent sounds, yet they exist in their own right, often invested with quasi-magical power. This book examines the many imaginative, often idiosyncratic ways in which the letters of the alphabet have been assigned value in political, spiritual, or reli...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 1st 1995 by Thames & Hudson
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Drucker recounts the history of the alphabet, with a focus on the symbolic meaning people have afforded it over the century. The book is divided into 10 chapters, which can roughly be thought of as two background chapters, and eight that correspond to various historical periods in Western culture, and how the alphabet was regarded in them. Chapter 3 starts with the Greek and Roman period, with a focus on how the Greeks considered the alphabet as composed of the fundamental building blocks with w...more
(Almost done with it) Beautiful beautiful specimens, was very pleased to have seen the original Bodoni, Bickham, Uncial and so many others. Very precise yet thorough walk through the ages of writing. However, because there have been recent archaelogical discoveries, part of her explanation of the origin of the alphabet is incorrect.
A thorough distillation of what one needs to know about our alphabet. History, mythology, aesthetics and mystic hooey all included and brilliantly discussed herein. WITH tables & graphs and lots of images to look at. Should be on every poet's bookshelf. A masterpiece.