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The Golden Thread: A History of Writing Hardcover – February 11, 2014

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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$24.34 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 9 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Clayton has lived the very history he chronicles. His poor penmanship as a schoolboy inspired wise adults to introduce him to calligraphy, thus turning a problem into a passion. After becoming a renowned calligrapher and, for a spell, a monk, Clayton, now a professor, served as a consultant in the 1980s for a pioneering high-tech lab seeking ways to bring writing into the digital realm. Clayton builds on his far-reaching experiences in this avidly researched and enthusiastically told history of writing in the West, in which he pairs exacting analysis of the materials, technology, and skills involved in the ever-evolving craft of writing, from papyrus scrolls to scrolling down a computer screen, and fresh perspectives on the social contexts, from ancient Rome to the New World, within which literacy took hold and shaped every human endeavor. Along the way, Clayton, who will delight fans of Simon Garfield and Nicholas Basbanes, profiles calligraphers and typographers, assesses the impacts of various forms of correspondence and publishing, and discusses in eye-opening detail the expressiveness of diverse styles of handwriting. Though computers are all–encompassing, we should not underestimate the value of handwriting, Clayton reminds us. We do need it, and the very act itself, an arcing from mind to body, has profound resonance. --Donna Seaman

Review

"Clayton writes with ingenuous charm and contagious enthusiasm, often illustrating his points with “calligraphic studies” of his own…he turns a line of type into an object of contemplation and makes it okay to be curious, all over again, about the ancient symbols we all spent so long learning to use, and to ignore."—Lorin Stein, The Paris Review

"Clayton reawakens readers to the versatility and nuances of something so ubiquitous as to be almost invisible…It’s a book no bibliophile should miss."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint (February 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1619022427
  • ISBN-13: 978-1619022423
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #692,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brilliant work on the human relationship to the written word and how it changes over time. I am a graphic designer and have learned so much from this book.
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Format: Hardcover
I have to admit, it took me a while to get through this book although I was fascinated by the idea of a history of writing. However, while this book briefly touches on Egyptian hieroglyphics and the Greek contributions to the alphabet, the bulk of the narrative is about the Latin alphabet and European writing. The author spends many pages talking about the minute changes to the Latin alphabet over the years, the creation of "small letters," the changeover from handwritten manuscripts in legible letters to the advent of print and the creation of different fonts. I'm a font nerd and after a while some of the detail made my eyes glaze over, but then some new concept would emerge and I would forge on. There's some fascinating discussion about inks, pen points and the angle of holding the point, the creation of fonts (it's a lot more than just drawing some letters), quills vs. steel pens, etc., but be advised this is a scholarly work, and pretty much Eurocentric. If you're looking for something on Sanskrit, the Arabic and Cyrillic alphabets, and Japanese and Chinese brush writing you'll have to look elsewhere.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book. I've studied with Ewan and really looked forward to the release of his book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Just began the book, but I think it's going to be an interesting and informative book. So far, lots of details, so I don't think it will be a speed-read, but history isn't supposed to be.
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