The story of writing


London : Thames & Hudson, 2007


Robinson, Andrew

Number of Pages




Publication Year


Original Language


Categories and Tags

Paperback, Writing, Alphabet

Dewey Subjects

Communication > Kinds of communication > Social Interaction > Social Sciences > Social sciences > Verbal communication > Written communication


Andrew Robinson explains the interconnection between sound, symbol, and script in a succinct and absorbing text. He discusses the major writing systems, from cuneiform and Egyptian and Mayan hieroglyphs to alphabets and the scripts of China and Japan, as well as topics such as the Cherokee “alphabet” and the writing of runes. Full coverage is given to the history of decipherment, and a provocative chapter devoted to undeciphered scripts challenges the reader: can these codes ever be broken? In this revised edition, the author reveals the latest discoveries to impact our knowledge of the history of writing, including the Tabula Cortonensis showing Etruscan symbols and a third-millennium BC seal from Turkmenistan that could solve the mystery of how Chinese writing evolved. He also discusses how the digital revolution has not, despite gloomy predictions, spelt doom for the printed book. In addition, the table of Maya glyphs has been revised to be up-to-date with current research.



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