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Papyrus: The Invention of Books in the Ancient World
Print Edition
ISBN
978-619-02-1198-3
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Rating (24)
4.125 24
Language
Bulgarian
Format
Paperback
Size
13/20
Weight
444 gr.
Pages
592
Published
12 May 2023

Papyrus: The Invention of Books in the Ancient World

A rich exploration of the importance of books and libraries in the ancient world that highlights how humanity’s obsession with the printed word has echoed throughout the ages

• “Accessible and entertaining.” —The Wall Street Journal

Long before books were mass-produced, scrolls hand copied on reeds pulled from the Nile were the treasures of the ancient world. Emperors and Pharaohs were so determined to possess them that they dispatched emissaries to the edges of earth to bring them back. When Mark Antony wanted to impress Cleopatra, he knew that gold and priceless jewels would mean nothing to her. So, what did he give her? Books for her library — two hundred thousand, in fact. The long and eventful history of the written word shows that books have always been and will always be a precious — and precarious — vehicle for civilization.

Papyrus is the story of the book’s journey from oral tradition to scrolls to codices, and how that transition laid the very foundation of Western culture. Award-winning author Irene Vallejo evokes the great mosaic of literature in the ancient world from Greece’s itinerant bards to Rome’s multimillionaire philosophers, from opportunistic forgers to cruel teachers, erudite librarians to defiant women, all the while illuminating how ancient ideas about education, censorship, authority, and identity still resonate today. Crucially, Vallejo also draws connections to our own time, from the library in war-torn Sarajevo to Oxford’s underground labyrinth, underscoring how words have persisted as our most valuable creations.

Through nimble interpretations of the classics, playful and moving anecdotes about her own encounters with the written word, and fascinating stories from history, Vallejo weaves a marvelous tapestry of Western culture’s foundations and identifies the humanist values that helped make us who we are today. At its heart a spirited love letter to language itself, Papyrus takes readers on a journey across the centuries to discover how a simple reed grown along the banks of the Nile would give birth to a rich and cherished culture.

About the Author
Irene  Vallejo

Irene Vallejo earned her doctorate from the Universities of Zaragoza and Florence.

Vallejo is a regular columnist for El País and Heraldo de Aragón, and she is the author of two novels, three collections of essays, articles, and short fiction, and two children’s books. 

Papyrus was awarded the National Essay Prize and the Critical Eye Prize for Narrative in Spain, and it was published in thirty countries.

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Print Edition
ISBN
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