The British Library Guide to Writing and Scripts: History and Techniques / Edition 1

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Writing is about communication. In our multimedia age, it co-exists with a developed oral culture of telecommunications, film and recorded sound. Through our television screens and popular press, it interrelates with sound and image in complex ways. Writing is nonetheless as important as ever as the principal conveyor of information, unlocking the secrets of human knowledge and identity.

In The British Library Guide to Writing and Scripts: History and Techniques, Michelle P. Brown surveys the many forms in which writing has evolved in East and West, the tools and materials used, and how they have influenced the development of scripts. She examines particularly the processes involved in the production of the medieval book in the West, and assesses the impact of later technological developments in communication on the current state of writing and its future.

With over 70 colour and black-and-white illustrations, The British Library Guide to Writing and Scripts: History and Techniques is one of a series of titles providing accessible and lively introductions to the practical aspects of the history of books and how they are made.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802081728
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
  • Publication date: 6/20/1998
  • Series: British Library Guides Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 92
  • Product dimensions: 7.47 (w) x 9.66 (h) x 0.32 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Why writing? 7
Systems of information transmission and the relationship between thought, sound, word and image 7
Oral tradition 8
Mnemonic and other simple forms of graphic message transmission 11
Pictography (picture writing) and literal graphic representation 12
Logography, the rebus and the development of ideography (thought writing) 15
Mixed systems (cuneiform and hieroglyphic) 23
Phonography (sound writing): the phonetic systems (syllabic, consonantal and alphabetical) 28
Ancient Mediterranean syllabic scripts 29
Consonantal and alphabetical scripts 30
The western alphabet 35
The creation of scripts to suit languages 42
Deciphering scripts 45
2 Form and function 50
The technology of writing and the materials used 51
3 Writing in the West 66
Making a medieval illuminated manuscript: techniques and stages of production 66
The people behind the words 70
The evolution of western scripts 78
4 Where is writing going? 88
Further reading 93
Index 94
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