The Story of Writing

The Story of Writing

Alphabets, Hieroglyphs and Pictograms

  1. Andrew Robinson
  • ISBN 9780500286609
  • 25.40 x 19.20 cm
  • Paperback
  • 232pp
  • With over 355 illustrations, 50 in colour
  • First published 2007
‘The most accessible and informative book available on the major writing systems of the world’ – History Today
‘Excellent … Robinson covers so much ground in such short order that you feel he must have got something wrong or left out something important. He hasn’t’ – Bookdealer
‘Delightful to read … difficult to put down once started’ – Communication Arts

Without writing there would be no history and no civilization as we know it. But how, when and where did writing evolve?

In an absorbing text, Andrew Robinson explains the interconnection between sound, symbol and script. He discusses each of the major writing systems in turn, from cuneiform and Egyptian and Mayan hieroglyphs to the scripts of China and Japan, as well as others 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: can these codes ever be broken?

In this new edition, the author reveals the latest discoveries to have an impact on the history of writing, including the Tabula Cortonensis showing Etruscan symbols, and a seal from Turkmenistan that could solve the mystery of how Chinese writing evolved. He also discusses how the digital revolution has not, despite predictions, spelled doom for the printed book. In addition, the table of Maya glyphs has been updated.

Andrew Robinson is Literary Editor of The Times Higher Education Supplement. His other books include Earthshock (also published by Thames & Hudson).