The Western Civ User’s Guide to Reading & Writing

Okay, gang, here we go! I’m starting up another Western Civ User’s Guide. This time around we’re looking at reading and writing. If you’re a loyal follower, you know we’re all about the history of ideas here at Western Civ User’s Guide world headquarters. In this book I want to explore 2 themes. One, how an ancient invention—the alphabet—was so essential that it’s endured down to our own time. Two, that the history of Western Civ can be seen as a series of culture-changing transfers of power from privileged elites (usually played in the movies by the late Alan Rickman) to the broader population (regular shmoes). For example, the alphabet and later moveable type brought literacy to huge amounts of people; the printing press and later the internet increased the distribution of information.

In case anyone’s fuzzy about what exactly Western Civilization is, here are links to a couple of brilliant explanations:

https://johnmanders.wordpress.com/2019/01/13/what-is-a-civilization/
https://johnmanders.wordpress.com/2019/01/16/where-in-the-world-is-western-civilization/

As usual, there will be lousy gags and badly-drawn cartoons squeezed in between bits of actual history. This is interactive—chime in if you have information to share. I heartily thank you weirdos for following. See you next post!

64 responses to “The Western Civ User’s Guide to Reading & Writing

  1. Pingback: AGAIN! | John Manders' Blog

  2. Pingback: Back in caveman days | John Manders' Blog

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  5. Pingback: Putting the pot in Mesopotamia | John Manders' Blog

  6. Pingback: Chicken scratchings | John Manders' Blog

  7. Pingback: Stylin’ with the stylus | John Manders' Blog

  8. Pingback: Writing gets complicated | John Manders' Blog

  9. Pingback: Ideograms | John Manders' Blog

  10. Pingback: Learn to be a scribe! Earn big money! | John Manders' Blog

  11. Pingback: The birth of Western Lit | John Manders' Blog

  12. Pingback: The Bull of Heaven | John Manders' Blog

  13. Pingback: Darius the Great | John Manders' Blog

  14. Pingback: The Persian Postal Service | John Manders' Blog

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  16. Pingback: Meanwhile, in Egypt… | John Manders' Blog

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  19. Pingback: Writing of the gods | John Manders' Blog

  20. Pingback: Papyrus | John Manders' Blog

  21. Pingback: Papyrus pens | John Manders' Blog

  22. Pingback: Ink | John Manders' Blog

  23. Pingback: Logograms | John Manders' Blog

  24. Pingback: Milton Glaser and logograms | John Manders' Blog

  25. Pingback: So let it be written | John Manders' Blog

  26. Pingback: But what does it mean? | John Manders' Blog

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  40. Pingback: Phoenicians | John Manders' Blog

  41. Pingback: Copper and Tin | John Manders' Blog

  42. Pingback: Twenty-two little letters | John Manders' Blog

  43. Pingback: A win for the shmos | John Manders' Blog

  44. Pingback: Abjad | John Manders' Blog

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  48. Pingback: Tfel-ot-thgir (right-to-left) | John Manders' Blog

  49. Pingback: The Hebrew alphabet | John Manders' Blog

  50. Pingback: Guest blogger: Ilene Winn-Lederer | John Manders' Blog

  51. Pingback: Things go sideways for Israel | John Manders' Blog

  52. Pingback: The alefbet | John Manders' Blog

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