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"the Golden Thread – The Story Of Writing" – New Book By Ewan Clayton


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"We are at one of those turning points, for the written word, that come only rarely in human history. We are witnessing the introduction of new writing tools and media. It has only happened twice before as far as the Roman alphabet is concerned – once in a process that was several centuries long when papyrus scrolls gave way to vellum books in late antiquity, and again when Gutenberg invented printing using movable type and change swept over Europe in the course of just one generation […]. Changing times now mean that for a brief period many of the conventions that surround the written word appear fluid; we are free to re-imagine the quality of the relationship we will make with writing, and shape new technologies. How will our choices be informed - how much do we know about the medium's past? What work does writing do for us? What writing tools do we need? Perhaps the first step towards answering these questions is to learn something of how writing got to be the way it is."

I am quoting here the introduction to a book I am very much looking forward to read: "The golden thread" by Ewan Clayton. It sounds so promising and interesting, just about two things I hold very dear - (the history of) reading and writing, written from the perspective of both a calligrapher and designer. So far I just managed to read about 40 pages and it is packed with information and ideas. You can find a short review here on the website of the FT

and more about the author here

I thought maybe some of you may be interested as well.


(I hope this is the right forum, I wasn't sure. But I didn't put it in the book section because it is not "only" about calligraphy – but if it should be moved there I am totally ok with that ;))

I am an illustrator & graphic designer learning calligraphy :: instagram :: blog

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Ohhhh, very nice. Thank you!

Just ordered from the UK (wondering again why we're supposed to pay twice as much on German Amazon...).

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I posted about this book in another forum a few days ago when I finished reading it. A really brilliant read and highly recommended. The author was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 a few weeks ago. A fascinating man. Might still be available on iPlayer for UK listeners.


Link to a review in the Telegraph (UK) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/historybookreviews/10304108/The-Golden-Thread-the-Story-of-Writing-by-Ewan-Clayton-review.html



Verba volant, scripta manent

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Does look interesting, but not available here till next February, and there's no ebook preorder info...

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  • 1 month later...

This looks very interesting, and well written from snippets in the Telegraph review, like this: “words remembered because of the season they are chanted in, or because they are sung at the point in the year as the rising sun streams through a particular window of the church, or during the frost… or when the swallows are preparing to leave”.


I tried to download a sample from Amazon.co.uk, but it recognized I was an interloper... Guess I'll have to wait till it's released here.

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