How the Alphabet Has Shaped the Western View of the World
University of Toronto Press
On Sale: July 9, 2016
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
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Non-Fiction Philosphy | Non-Fiction | Non-Fiction History
From our first ABCs to the Book of Revelation’s statement
that Jesus is “the Alpha and Omega,” we see the world
through our letters. More than just a way of writing, the
alphabet is a powerful concept that has shaped Western
civilization and our daily lives. In The Letter and the
Cosmos, Laurence de Looze probes that influence, showing how
the alphabet has served as a lens through which we
conceptualize the world and how the world, and sometimes the
whole cosmos, has been perceived as a kind of alphabet
itself. Beginning with the ancient Greeks, he traces the use
of alphabetic letters and their significance from Plato to
postmodernism, offering a fascinating tour through Western
A sharp and entertaining examination of how languages,
letterforms, orthography, and writing tools have reflected
our hidden obsession with the alphabet, The Letter and the
Cosmos is illustrated with copious examples of the visual
and linguistic phenomena which de Looze describes. Read it,
and you’ll never look at the alphabet the same way again.
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