By Keith Houston
“An totally attention-grabbing mixture of background, layout, sociology, and cultural poetics—highly recommended.”—Maria Popova, Brain Pickings
A captivating and crucial travel of 2 thousand years of the written note, Shady Characters weaves a desirable path around the parallel histories of language and typography.
Whether investigating the asterisk (*) and dagger (†)—which alternately illuminated and skewered heretical verses of the early Bible—or the at signal (@), which languished in obscurity for hundreds of years until eventually rescued by means of the web, Keith Houston attracts on myriad assets to chart the existence and instances of those enigmatic squiggles, either unique (¶) and daily (&).
From the Library of Alexandria to the halls of Bell Labs, figures as diversified as Charlemagne, Vladimir Nabokov, and George W. Bush go paths with marks as vague because the interrobang (?) and as divisive because the sprint (—). historical Roman graffiti, Venetian buying and selling shorthand, chilly struggle double brokers, and Madison road around out an ever extra assorted set of episodes, characters, and artifacts.
Richly illustrated, ranging throughout time, typographies, and international locations, Shady Characters will pride and entertain all who cherish the unpredictable and staggering within the writing life.
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Extra resources for Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, and Other Typographical Marks
Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, and Other Typographical Marks by Keith Houston