Front cover image for Index, a history of the : a bookish adventure from medieval manuscripts to the digital age

Index, a history of the : a bookish adventure from medieval manuscripts to the digital age

Dennis Duncan (Author)
"Most of us give little thought to the back of the book--it's just where you go to look things up. But as Dennis Duncan reveals in this delightful and witty history, hiding in plain sight is an unlikely realm of ambition and obsession, sparring and politicking, pleasure and play. In the pages of the index, we might find Butchers, to be avoided, or Cows that sh-te Fire, or even catch Calvin in his chamber with a Nonne. Here, for the first time, is the secret world of the index: an unsung but extraordinary everyday tool, with an illustrious but little-known past. Charting its curious path from the monasteries and universities of thirteenth-century Europe to Silicon Valley in the twenty-first, Duncan uncovers how it has saved heretics from the stake, kept politicians from high office, and made us all into the readers we are today. We follow it through German print shops and Enlightenment coffee houses, novelists' living rooms and university laboratories, encountering emperors and popes, philosophers and prime ministers, poets, librarians and-of course-indexers along the way. Revealing its vast role in our evolving literary and intellectual culture, Duncan shows that, for all our anxieties about the Age of Search, we are all index-rakers at heart-and we have been for eight hundred years"-- Provided by publisher
Print Book, English, 2022
First American edition View all formats and editions
W.W. Norton & Company Inc., New York, NY, 2022
vii, 343 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
9781324002543, 9781324050513, 1324002549, 1324050519
First published in Great Britain under the title Index, a history of the : a bookish adventure