Catalogue


Writing [electronic resource] : theory and history of the technology of civilization /
Barry B. Powell.
imprint
Chichester, U.K. ; Malden, MA : Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.
description
xx, 276 p. : ill., maps, music ; 24 cm.
ISBN
1405162562 (hardcover : alk. paper), 9781405162562 (hardcover : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Chichester, U.K. ; Malden, MA : Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.
isbn
1405162562 (hardcover : alk. paper)
9781405162562 (hardcover : alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
contents note
Introduction : a difficult topic, little studied, poorly understood -- What is writing? -- Writing with signs -- Categories and features of writing -- Some general issues in the study of writing -- Protocuneiform and counting tokens -- Origins of lexigraphic writing in Mesopotamia -- Plato's Ideas and Champollion's decipherment of the Egyptian hieroglyphs -- Egyptian writing and Egyptian speech -- The origin and nature of Egyptian writing -- "The house of life" : scribes and writing in ancient Egypt -- Syllabic scripts of the Aegean -- The West Semitic revolution -- What kind of writing was West Semitic? -- The origins of West Semitic writing -- Chinese logography -- Lexigraphic writing in Mesoamerica -- The Greek alphabet : a writing that changed the world -- Summary and conclusions.
catalogue key
11567556
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [263]-269) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
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), two editions of Homer (second edition, Blackwell, 2007), and six editions of his text Classical Myth (sixth edition, 2008).
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2009-12-01:
This concise, informative book discusses writing--what it is and how it evolved, from the origins of lexigraphic writing in Mesopotamia, to Egyptian hieroglyphs and other syllabaries, including Phoenician, all culminating in the one unique alphabetic writing form first devised in ancient Greece, the "writing that changed the world." Powell (emer., classics, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison) tries to cut through centuries of misinformation and misunderstanding that surround the origins of language, writing, and the alphabet. He convincingly explains that in the history of writing one must distinguish between semasiography and lexigraphy, logography and phonography, and syllabography and grammatography (alphabetic writing). Powell discusses Cretan writing, Linear A and the decipherment of Linear B, and West Semitic, Chinese, and ancient Mayan writing. He persuasively argues that the motivation for creating phonetic writing was the need to record names--of places and things, but primarily people, possibly large numbers of slave laborers--and the most expedient way to develop such records was through some sort of lexigraphic writing that was later refined to syllabaries and eventually, the Greek alphabet. For anyone interested in language, writing, and their fascinating history across many cultures and centuries of development, this engagingly written, well-illustrated book will provide a very readable mine of information. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All libraries. J. W. Dauben CUNY Herbert H. Lehman College
Reviews
Review Quotes
"This is an excellent, accessible introduction to writing's origins and development; Powell's jargon-free exposition clarifies many important issues in a way that specialist discussions have rarely achieved to date." - John Bennet , University of Sheffield
"This is an excellent, accessible introduction to writing's origins and development; Powell's jargon-free exposition clarifies many important issues in a way that specialist discussions have rarely achieved to date." -John Bennet, University of Sheffield
"For anyone interested in language, writing, and their fascinating history across many cultures and centuries of development, this engagingly written, well-illustrated book will provide a very readable mine of information." (CHOICE, December 2009) "Powell's concentration on precise names for terms used in discourse clears up some of the confusion common to histories of work on ancient scripts." (About.com, May 2009)"A feature … is the use of the ancient scripts in the text with numerous illustrations to familiarize the reader with the different writing systems. The result is a readable and enlightening study of a complex topic." (Bryn Mawr Classical Review, April 2010)"Writing is stimulating and impressive." (Science, April 2009)
"For anyone interested in language, writing, and their fascinating history across many cultures and centuries of development, this engagingly written, well-illustrated book will provide a very readable mine of information." ( CHOICE, December 2009) "Powells concentration on precise names for terms used in discourse clears up some of the confusion common to histories of work on ancient scripts." ( About.com , May 2009) "A feature … is the use of the ancient scripts in the text with numerous illustrations to familiarize the reader with the different writing systems. The result is a readable and enlightening study of a complex topic." ( Bryn Mawr Classical Review, April 2010) "Writing is stimulating and impressive." (Science, April 2009 )
"For anyone interested in language, writing, and their fascinating history across many cultures and centuries of development, this engagingly written, well-illustrated book will provide a very readable mine of information." ( CHOICE, December 2009)"Powell's concentration on precise names for terms used in discourse clears up some of the confusion common to histories of work on ancient scripts." ( About.com , May 2009) "A feature … is the use of the ancient scripts in the text with numerous illustrations to familiarize the reader with the different writing systems. The result is a readable and enlightening study of a complex topic." ( Bryn Mawr Classical Review, April 2010) "Writing is stimulating and impressive." (Science, April 2009 )
"Powell's concentration on precise names for terms used in discourse clears up some of the confusion common to histories of work on ancient scripts." (About.com, May 2009)"Writing is stimulating and impressive." (Science, April 2009)
"For anyone interested in language, writing, and their fascinating history across many cultures and centuries of development, this engagingly written, well-illustrated book will provide a very readable mine of information." ( CHOICE, December 2009)“Powell's concentration on precise names for terms used in discourse clears up some of the confusion common to histories of work on ancient scripts.” ( About.com , May 2009) “A feature & is the use of the ancient scripts in the text with numerous illustrations to familiarize the reader with the different writing systems. The result is a readable and enlightening study of a complex topic.” ( Bryn Mawr Classical Review, April 2010) “Writing is stimulating and impressive.” (Science, April 2009 )
"Writing is stimulating and impressive." (Science, April 2009)
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, December 2009
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Writing: Theory and History of the Technology of Civilization traces the origins of writing tied to speech from ancient Sumer through the Greek alphabet and beyond. Examines the earliest evidence for writing in Mesopotamia in the fourth millennium BC, the origins of purely phonographic systems, and the mystery of alphabetic writing Includes discussions of Ancient Egyptian,Chinese, and Mayan writing Shows how the structures of writing served and do serve social needs and in turn create patterns of social behavior Clarifies the argument with many illustrations
Bowker Data Service Summary
This resource offers a coherent system of terms and categories for the study of the complex phenomena in the world's writing systems.
Back Cover Copy
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.
Long Description
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.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. ix
Mapsp. xiv
Prefacep. xv
Chronologyp. xvii
Introduction: A Difficult Topic, Little Studied, Poorly Understoodp. 1
What Is Writing?p. 11
Writing with Signsp. 19
Categories and Features of Writingp. 38
Some General Issues in the Study of Writingp. 51
Protocuneiform and Counting Tokensp. 60
Origin of Lexigraphic Writing in Mesopotamiap. 70
Plato's Ideas and Champollion's Decipherment of the Egyptian Hieroglyphsp. 85
Egyptian Writing and Egyptian Speechp. 100
The Origin and Nature of Egyptian Writingp. 108
"The House of Life": Scribes and Writing in Ancient Egyptp. 120
Syllabic Scripts of the Aegeanp. 128
The West Semitic Revolutionp. 148
What Kind of Writing Was West Semitic?p. 163
The Origins of West Semitic Writingp. 175
Chinese Logographyp. 187
Lexigraphic Writing in Mesoamericap. 206
The Greek Alphabet: A Writing That Changed the Worldp. 227
Summary and Conclusionsp. 245
Glossaryp. 255
Bibliographyp. 263
Indexp. 270
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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