Letter by Letter: An Alphabetical Miscellany

Letter by Letter: An Alphabetical Miscellany

by Laurent Pflughaupt, L. Pflughaupt
     
 

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Letters are the building blocks of our language, and quite possibly of our consciousness. Written into young minds through constant repetition, letters soon function like water in a fishbowlessential for life, but too familiar to qualify as objects of serious inquiry. But considered separately from words and sentences, letters express their own mysteriousbeauty. In… See more details below

Overview

Letters are the building blocks of our language, and quite possibly of our consciousness. Written into young minds through constant repetition, letters soon function like water in a fishbowlessential for life, but too familiar to qualify as objects of serious inquiry. But considered separately from words and sentences, letters express their own mysteriousbeauty. In order to uncover their secrets, it is necessary to forego the conventional historical approach in favor of animpassioned appreciation of their formal and sensual characteristics.

In Letter by Letter graphic designer and calligrapher Laurent Pflughaupt analyzes each letter of the Roman alphabet in detail, tracing its origin, evolution, and form, as well as discussing its important abbreviations, symbols, and associated meanings. Arranged in alphabetical order, twenty-six entries offer a wealth of facts about each letter, establishingcorrespondences between letters and elements borrowed from a variety of different fields of study, ranging from traditionalpaleography, phonetics, and graphic arts to the more arcane areas of musicology, esotericism, and even Eastern philosophy.In addition to a glossary, timelines and images allow us to visualize the letters during the different historical eras, givingthe reader an appreciation of their successive metamorphoses. Written as an homage, this lovingly illustrated book takes abroad approach to the modern alphabet, allowing the reader to see letters anew, in a fresh and lively manner guaranteed toinform and enchant anyone interested in typography and language.

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Editorial Reviews

Steven Heller
Although readers won't find Arial (the favorite default sans-serif on the computer) or Zapf Dingbats (the most commonly used typographic ornaments, at least on the Macintosh), they will be told about the calligraphic and engraved origins of the Western alphabet, particularly the Roman letter, with such clarity (and a touch of raciness) that even the novice will be appreciative…This book will not make mediocre desktop typographers much better, but it will offer insights into the anatomy and structure, not to mention the sound, of letters.
—The New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781568987378
Publisher:
Princeton Architectural Press
Publication date:
03/20/2008
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)

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