“Few subjects have acquired such a variable collection of prejudices and confusing terminologies as has the subject of writing. A good many studies start with the words "Writing was the greatest invention ever made by mankind” - but was it an invention?
The book does not shirk the fundamental questions on writing, and hence reshapes the framework within which the subject is usually considered. Writing is traditionally discussed as a product of individual intellectual achievement. The refreshing approach of this book gives the reader an insight into the place of writing as an essential part of the political infrastructure of a society.
This book addresses three key questions:
As ancient writings continue to be discovered and deciphered, it is becoming clear that long-held theories of writing development have rested more on speculation than on actual proof. However, no history of writing has adequately answered these questions nor bought to the subject the breadth of scope that this book achieves.
- what exactly is the primary purpose of writing?
- how does the ability to record information relate to the concept of literacy?
- does literacy depend on writing?
Complete with more than 80 photographs and illustrative examples of writing through the ages, this book contains a network of references leading the reader towards further information. This will be seen as an attractive and accessible introduction to the development of writing and literacy for courses from cultural studies through the classics.
Dr. Albertine was Deputy Director and Head of Oriental Collections at the British Library, where she has previously been the Head of the Department of Oriental Manuscripts and Printed Books. She specialised in Ethnology and Philosophy at the University of Vienna for her doctorate, and studied Tamil and Hindi at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. An expert on writing, she has published several books, including A History of Writing and A History of Calligraphy.
1st edition 2000, Hb, 188pp, over 80 photographs and illustrations, 18 x 23.5 cm