Papyrus: The invention of books in the ancient world
Irene Vallejo tells a thrilling tale about the creation of literary culture and the evolution of alphabets and paper books.
This book about books is a love letter to libraries, to literature and to all of us readers. It is a journey through the history of the written word. The author blends historical research with personal reflections.
A collective venture
We follow historical figures like Alexander the Great, the enterprise of Alexandria's Library from start to destruction. The extraordinary literary legacy of Sappho, Homer and Aristotle is included but most importantly also the anonymous lives of those who contributed to the creation, conservation and transmission of books.
Through the lives of unknown copyists, slaves, nuns, rebels, librarians and tutors, we are taken on a centuries-long journey with the book as the conductive wire.
Reads as an adventure novel
There is no trace of academic style in the writing of Irene Vallejo, Spanish philologist and classicist. Phenomena such as the creation of literary culture, the development of library catalogues and the evolution of alphabets and formats are narrated in a way that reads more as a thrilling tale than a popular history book.
Irene Vallejo connects stories from the ancient and contemporary worlds with her own anecdotes using numerous references from classic authors, popular culture and contemporary literature.