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La fabuleuse histoire de l’invention de l’écriture by Silvia Ferrara

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Jan 16th, 2021. Artwork published in
January 2021
.
    La fabuleuse histoire de l’invention de l’écriture by Silvia Ferrara
    Source: https://www.seuil.com Éditions du Seuil. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Infini – and nothing but Infini – for the cover of Silvia Ferrara’s book about “the fabulous story of the invention of writing”. Originally published in Italian (La grande invenzione: Storia del mondo in nove scritture misteriose, Feltrinelli, 2019), this is the French edition by Seuil, translated by Jacques Dalarun.

    The choice of Infini is spot on: With the flared stems of its capitals, Sandrine Nugue’s design hints at the earliest preserved traces of writing. Or, as Sebastién Morlighem has put it in “The Story of the Infini”, a text that accompanied the typeface’s release on Cnap’s Graphisme en France website:

    The work of hammer and chisel sculpting the surface, carving the hardness of marble, limestone and granite, is reflected in Infini’s aesthetic position, which pays tribute to the figure of the incised letter […]

    This sublime ancient look is intensified by the use of the discretionary capital ligatures, including pairs with mirrored and nested letters which add an enigmatic touch. Infini offers more than fifty such ligatures, among them a whole-word glyph (or catchword) for “PALEO”.

    Silvia Ferrara, professor of Aegean Philology at the University of Bologna, leads the European research program INSCRIBE (Invention of Scripts and Their Beginnings). This program aims “to unravel the mysteries of ancient writing through a new approach, combining a study of the world’s first instances of writing, including the earliest in Europe, through the lens of archaeology, anthropology, cultural evolution, cognitive studies and decipherment strategies.”

    Additonal translations are forthcoming and will be published in the USA (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), UK (Picador), Germany (Beck), Spain (Anagrama), Greece (Patakis), and China (Chonquing).

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