Lines: A Brief History

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Overview

This is the first book to explore the production and significance of lines. As walking, talking, gesticulating creatures, human beings generate lines wherever they go: here, Tim Ingold lays the foundations for an anthropological archaeology of the line. He investigates:

  • speech and song in the cultures of Papua New Guinea, the Navaho and Meso America
  • paths, trails and maps
  • drawing, writing and calligraphy
  • the modern and postmodern world.

Written by a leading expert in the field and including over seventy illustrations, this text offers a radically different approach to anthropological and archaeological studies, taking us on a journey which will change the way we look at the world and how we move within it.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Lines – a profound, rich and fascinating meditation on the multiple meanings interwoven within that simple word: from forest tracks to genealogies, from the acts of writing to patterned house decorations. Tim Ingold’s wide-ranging book escapes disciplinary, cultural and temporal boundaries. Read it, and you will never feel quite the same again about using a computer or taking a journey.’ - Steven Rose, Emeritus Professor of Biology, The Open University

‘This is a book whose pictures alone are worth the money. Till I started to follow Tim Ingold’s path through this fascinating maze, I had never noticed how many different kinds of line there are, nor how badly we go wrong when we don’t distinguish between them. As he shows, we Westerners keep replacing sensitive, living lines with ones that are static and mechanical, and it’s quite a mistake to think that this makes us more rational.’ - Mary Midgley, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, The University of Newcastle

‘Ingold’s eventual incorporation of anthropological examples from eastern Peru is really where we begin to see a master at work – Ingold intimately understands the data and interpretation flows in an engaging way … this is a vibrant read – at times when reading I shouted aloud, ‘Yes spot on!’ at other times I paced the room and exclaimed in frustration ‘No!’. That Ingold’s writing can produce such dramatic effects is a testament to the quality of his argument. Do I recommend reading this book? Definitely.’Cambridge Archaeological Journal

'The author's ambition, to take a virgin piece of interdisciplinary territory and "write on it a bit", has been fascinatingly achieved.' - Steven Poole, The Guardian

"As alluded to in the quote on the book's cover, it is difficult to see the world the same way after reading this book. And that may be the larger meaning to take away: as Ingold (Univ. of Aberdeen) shows, earlier conceptions of speech and writing were intimately interconnected with movement, and as wayfarers journey through the world, neither they nor the boo's reader are the same as when they started. ... Highly recommended." -- CHOICE April 2008 Vol. 45 (M. Ebert, University of Saskatchewan)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415424264
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 6/22/2007
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Language, Music and Notation 2. Traces, Threads and Surfaces 3. Up, Across and Along 4. Drawing, Writing and Calligraphy 5. How the Line Became Straight Epilogue Bibliography

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