Writing: Theory and History of the Technology of Civilization offers a coherent system of terms and categories for the study of the complex phenomena in the world’s writing systems.
Tracing the origins of writing tied to speech from ancient Sumer through the Greek alphabet and beyond, the book examines the earliest evidence for writing in Mesopotamia in the fourth millennium BC, the relations of these systems to Egyptian and Chinese writing, the origins of purely phonographic systems, and the mystery of alphabetic writing.
With examples from contemporary and historical writing systems, and many illustrations, Writing shows how the structures of writing served and do serve certain social needs and in turn create deep patterns of social behavior.
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Barry B. Powell is Halls-Bascom Professor Emeritus of Classics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has written extensively on ancient Greek literature and the history of writing. His books include Homer and the Origin of the Greek Alphabet (1991), A New Companion to Homer (editor, with Ian Morris) (1997), Writing and the Origins of Greek Literature (2001), and two editions of Homer (second edition, Blackwell, 2007).
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations ix
Introduction: A Difficult Topic, Little Studied, Poorly Understood 1
1 What Is Writing? 11
2 Writing with Signs 19
3 Categories and Features of Writing 38
4 Some General Issues in the Study of Writing 51
5 Protocuneiform and Counting Tokens 60
6 Origin of Lexigraphic Writing in Mesopotamia 70
7 Plato's Ideas and Champollion’s Decipherment of the
Egyptian Hieroglyphs 85
8 Egyptian Writing and Egyptian Speech 100
9 The Origin and Nature of Egyptian Writing 108
10 “The House of Life”: Scribes and Writing in Ancient Egypt 120
11 Syllabic Scripts of the Aegean 128
12 The West Semitic Revolution 148
13 What Kind of Writing Was West Semitic? 163
14 The Origins of West Semitic Writing 175
15 Chinese Logography 187
16 Lexigraphic Writing in Mesoamerica 206
17 The Greek Alphabet: A Writing That Changed the World 227
18 Summary and Conclusions 245
What People are Saying About This
"This is an excellent, accessible introduction to writing's originsand development; Powell's jargon-free exposition clarifies manyimportant issues in a way that specialist discussions have rarelyachieved to date."–John Bennet, University of Sheffield
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