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Proust and the squid.
The story and science of the reading brain.
New York: Harper.
Primarily a biological and cognitive analysis of the process of reading (the title refers to the synergy between novelists and neuroscientists), the book deals at some length with the impact that the introduction of writing had on that process (pp. 24–50).
Important for us is also the chapter on the development of the alphabet and on Socrates' stance vis–à–vis reading (pp. 50–78). Different drawings render the author's understanding of the "different types of efficiency among languages" (p. 61), in a effort to determine, from a neurological point of view, the claim for greater efficiency of the alphabet.
[A number of elementary mistakes mar the section on ancient Mesopotamia, e.g., the inexistent cuneiform signs in the drawing on p.32, the misspelling of Rawlinson's name (ibid.), the reference to the Epic of Gilgamesh having been preserved on stone tablets or the misspelling of the scribe's name who wrote them (p. 41).]
See also the comments in the excursuses on writing and on reading.
[G. Buccellati – January 2009]