Johanna Drucker: Alphabetic Labyrinth: The Letters in History and Imagination (1995–) [EN, SR]

8 December 2019, dusan

“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.”

Publisher Thames and Hudson, London, 1995
ISBN 0500016089, 9780500016084
315 pages

Reviews: Ellen Lupton (Eye, 1995), Cliff Pickover (Leonardo, 1999).

WorldCat

The Alphabetic Labyrinth (English, 1995, 18 MB)
Alfabetski lavirint (Serbian, trans. Branislav Kovačević, 2006)

Iakov Chernikhov: Postroyenie shriftov (1958) [Russian]

31 July 2015, dusan

A book on the history of Russian and Latin typography from the avant-garde architect Iakov Chernikhov.

Построение шрифтов [Constructing Fonts]
With N.A. Sobolev (Н.А. Соболев)
Published in Moscow, 1958
Reprinted by Architektura-S, Moscow, 2007
ISBN 5964700330
116 pages
via Arch-grafika.ru

PDF (68 MB, updated on 2015-11-10)

Barry B. Powell: Writing: Theory and History of the Technology of Civilization (2009)

11 November 2014, dusan

“In this book the author explores writing not tied to speech, and traces the origins of writing tied to speech from ancient Sumer through the Greek alphabet and beyond. The book examines the earliest evidence for writing in Mesopotamia in the fourth millennium B.C., the relations of these systems to Ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Mesoamerican writing, the origins of purely phonographic systems, and the mystery of alphabetic writing. With examples from contemporary and historical writing systems, and many illustrations, it shows how the structures of writing served and do serve social needs and in turn create deep patterns of social behavior.”

Publisher Wiley-Blackwell, 2009
ISBN 1405162562, 9781405162562
276 pages

Review (L. R. Siddall, Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 2010)

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF, PDF