THE LETTER AND THE COSMOS HOW THE ALPHABET HAS SHAPED THE WESTERN VIEW OF THE WORLD

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The Letter And The Cosmos

Author : Laurence de Looze
ISBN : 9781442624122
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 81.43 MB
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From our first ABCs to the Book of Revelation’s statement that Jesus is “the Alpha and Omega,” we see the world through our letters. More than just a way of writing, the alphabet is a powerful concept that has shaped Western civilization and our daily lives. In The Letter and the Cosmos, Laurence de Looze probes that influence, showing how the alphabet has served as a lens through which we conceptualize the world and how the world, and sometimes the whole cosmos, has been perceived as a kind of alphabet itself. Beginning with the ancient Greeks, he traces the use of alphabetic letters and their significance from Plato to postmodernism, offering a fascinating tour through Western history. A sharp and entertaining examination of how languages, letterforms, orthography, and writing tools have reflected our hidden obsession with the alphabet, The Letter and the Cosmos is illustrated with copious examples of the visual and linguistic phenomena which de Looze describes. Read it, and you’ll never look at the alphabet the same way again.
Category: Literary Criticism

Playful Letters

Author : Erika Mary Boeckeler
ISBN : 9781609384746
Genre : Art
File Size : 76.82 MB
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Alphabetic letters are ubiquitous, multivalent, and largely ignored. Playful Letters reveals their important cultural contributions through Alphabetics—a new interpretive model for understanding artistic production that attends to the signifying interplay of the graphemic, phonemic, lexical, and material capacities of letters. A key period for examining this interplay is the century and a half after the invention of printing, with its unique media ecology of print, manuscript, sound, and image. Drawing on Shakespeare, anthropomorphic typography, figured letters, and Cyrillic pedagogy and politics, this book explores the ways in which alphabetic thinking and writing inform literature and the visual arts, and it develops reading strategies for the “letterature” that underwrites such cultural production. Playful Letters begins with early modern engagements with the alphabet and the human body—an intersection where letterature emerges with startling force. The linking of letters and typography with bodies produced a new kind of literacy. In turn, educational habits that shaped letter learning and writing permeated the interrelated practices of typography, orthography, and poetry. These mutually informing processes render visible the persistent crumbling of words into letters and their reconstitution into narrative, poetry, and image. In addition to providing a rich history of literary and artistic alphabetic interrogation in early modern Western Europe and Russia, Playful Letters contributes to the continuous story of how people use new technologies and media to reflect on older forms, including the alphabet itself.
Category: Art

Egil The Viking Poet

Author : Laurence de Looze
ISBN : 9781442649699
Genre : Electronic books
File Size : 61.40 MB
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The contributors to this collection of essays approach Egil's story from a variety of perspectives, including psychology, philology, network theory, social history, and literary theory.
Category: Electronic books

The Gist Of Reading

Author : Andrew Elfenbein
ISBN : 9781503604100
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 25.19 MB
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What happens to books as they live in our long-term memory? Why do we find some books entertaining and others not? And how does literary influence work on writers in different ways? Grounded in the findings of empirical psychology, this book amends classic reader-response theory and attends to neglected aspects of reading that cannot be explained by traditional literary criticism. Reading arises from a combination of two kinds of mental work: automatic and controlled processes. Automatic processes, such as the ability to see visual symbols as words, are the result of constant practice; controlled processes, such as predicting what might occur next in a story, arise from readers' conscious use of skills and background knowledge. When we read, automatic and controlled processes work together to create the "gist" of reading, the constant interplay between these two kinds of processes. Andrew Elfenbein not only explains how we read today, but also uses current knowledge about reading to consider readers of past centuries, arguing that understanding gist is central to interpreting the social, psychological, and political impact of literary works. The result is the first major revisionary account of reading practices in literary criticism since the 1970s.
Category: Literary Criticism

The Cosmic Script

Author : Ahmed Moustafa
ISBN : 1620553961
Genre : Body, Mind & Spirit
File Size : 67.68 MB
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A fully illustrated, landmark study of Islamic calligraphy traced back to its deepest historical and cultural roots • Explores the sacred geometry of each letter form of the Arabic alphabet as attributed to renowned 10th-century scribe Ibn Muqla • Traces Ibn Muqla’s system to the cross-cultural encounter between Greek learning and the scientific, artistic, and philosophical pursuits of classical Islam • A richly illustrated, two-volume presentation of decades of research with more than 430 full-color illustrations Calligraphy is the central visual art of Islam. At its core resides a perennial challenge: What letter shapes traced by human hands are rightful bearers of the divine message? The answer lies in the “Proportioned Script” of Ibn Muqla, renowned scribe, man of letters, and minister under the great Abbasid Caliphate in 10th-century Baghdad. Emphasizing harmony and geometry, Ibn Muqla’s system has governed the practice of Arabic scribal art up to the present day. In this two-volume, richly illustrated study, Ahmed Moustafa and Stefan Sperl analyze each letter form of Ibn Muqla’s perfected penmanship and share their decades of research on Islamic letter shapes, revealing the history, linguistics, philosophy, theology, and sacred geometry that underlie this spiritual art form. In volume one the authors reveal the trilogy of prophecy, penmanship, and geometry at the foundation of Ibn Muqla’s Proportioned Script. Providing a fully illustrated analysis of Islamic calligraphy’s geometrical principles as transmitted in surviving writings and key manuscript sources, they examine the geometric grid of square, circle, and hexagon that informs the pen strokes of each letter shape and explore how the golden ratio appears within the matrix of the grid. They examine the development of Ibn Muqla’s system in the context of the sciences, arts, and penmanship of 10th-century Baghdad and trace its origins to the cross-cultural encounter between Greek learning and the scientific, artistic, and philosophical pursuits of classical Islam. In volume two the authors analyze the calligraphic forms of each letter of the Arabic alphabet. They decode the sacred geometry of each form as it appears within the geometric grid, providing letter samples from ancient sources. Unearthing the theoretical and scientific foundations of Arabic calligraphy, this landmark study examines the aesthetic implications of Ibn Muqla’s theory for the visual, verbal, and aural arts of Islam as well as the Islamic mystical tradition.
Category: Body, Mind & Spirit

The Alphabet Versus The Goddess

Author : Leonard Shlain
ISBN : 0140196013
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 20.41 MB
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Forging provocative connections among many fields, the author of Art and Physics demonstrates how alphabetic literacy caused the development of the brain's left half over the right, which affected the role and power of women. Reprint. Tour.
Category: Social Science

The Interpretation Of Cultures

Author : Clifford Geertz
ISBN : 9780465093564
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 62.94 MB
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In The Interpretation of Cultures, the most original anthropologist of his generation moved far beyond the traditional confines of his discipline to develop an important new concept of culture. This groundbreaking book, winner of the 1974 Sorokin Award of the American Sociological Association, helped define for an entire generation of anthropologists what their field is ultimately about.
Category: Social Science

Masters Of The Word

Author : William J. Bernstein
ISBN : 9780802193445
Genre : History
File Size : 51.19 MB
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A captivating, illuminating, and sweeping historical narrative revealing the fascinating role media has played throughout the course of history. In “an engaging mix of theory, fact and enlightenment from across the millennia that wears its rich scholarship lightly,” Masters of the Word explains how new communication technologies and in particular our access to them, impacted human society (The Guardian). Writing was born thousands of years ago in Mesopotamia. Spreading to Sumer, and then Egypt, this revolutionary tool allowed rulers to extend their control far and wide, giving rise to the world’s first empires. When Phoenician traders took their alphabet to Greece, literacy’s first boom led to the birth of drama and democracy. In Rome, it helped spell the downfall of the Republic. Later, medieval scriptoria and vernacular bibles gave rise to religious dissent, and with the combination of cheaper paper and Gutenberg’s printing press, the fuse of Reformation was lit. The Industrial Revolution brought the telegraph and the steam driven printing press, allowing information to move faster than ever before and to reach an even larger audience. But along with radio and television, these new technologies were more easily exploited by the powerful, as seen in Germany, the Soviet Union, even Rwanda, where radio incited genocide. With the rise of carbon duplicates (Russian samizdat), photocopying (the Pentagon Papers), the internet, social media and cell phones (the recent Arab Spring) more people have access to communications, making the world more connected than ever before. This “accessible, quite enjoyable, and highly informative read” will change the way you look at technology, history, and power (Booklist). “[Bernstein] enables us to see what remains the same, even as much has changed.” —Library Journal, “Editors’ Picks” “Riveting and thoroughly researched, it brims with interesting ideas and astonishing connections.” —Phil Lapsley, author of Exploding the Phone: The Untold Story of the Teenagers and Outlaws Who Hacked Ma Bell “[Bernstein’s] narrative is succinct and extremely well sourced. . . . [He] reminds us of a number of technologies whose changed roles are less widely chronicled in conventional histories of the media.” —Irish Times
Category: History

The Master And His Emissary

Author : Iain McGilchrist
ISBN : 9780300148787
Genre : History
File Size : 67.67 MB
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Why is the brain divided? The difference between right and left hemispheres has been puzzled over for centuries. In a book of unprecedented scope, Iain McGilchrist draws on a vast body of recent brain research, illustrated with case histories, to reveal that the difference is profound—not just this or that function, but two whole, coherent, but incompatible ways of experiencing the world. The left hemisphere is detail oriented, prefers mechanisms to living things, and is inclined to self-interest, where the right hemisphere has greater breadth, flexibility, and generosity. This division helps explain the origins of music and language, and casts new light on the history of philosophy, as well as on some mental illnesses. In the second part of the book, McGilchrist takes the reader on a journey through the history of Western culture, illustrating the tension between these two worlds as revealed in the thought and belief of thinkers and artists, from Aeschylus to Magritte. He argues that, despite its inferior grasp of reality, the left hemisphere is increasingly taking precedence in the modern world, with potentially disastrous consequences. This is truly a tour de force that should excite interest in a wide readership.
Category: History

In The Vineyard Of The Text

Author : Ivan Illich
ISBN : 0226372367
Genre : History
File Size : 73.47 MB
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In a work with profound implications for the electronic age, Ivan Illich explores how revolutions in technology affect the way we read and understand text. Examining the Didascalicon of Hugh of St. Victor, Illich celebrates the culture of the book from the twelfth century to the present. Hugh's work, at once an encyclopedia and guide to the art of reading, reveals a twelfth-century revolution as sweeping as that brought about by the invention of the printing press and equal in magnitude only to the changes of the computer age—the transition from reading as a vocal activity done in the monastery to reading as a predominantly silent activity performed by and for individuals.
Category: History