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  • Hodder & Stoughton
  • Hodder & Stoughton
  • Hodder & Stoughton

Papyrus: The Invention of Books in the Ancient World

Irene Vallejo

5 Reviews

Rated 0

Classical history / classical civilisation

An enthralling journey through the history of books and libraries in the ancient world and those who have helped preserve their rich literary traditions

Long before books were mass produced, those made of reeds from along the Nile were worth fighting and dying for. Journeying along the battlefields of Alexander the Great, beneath the eruptions of Mount Vesuvius, at Cleopatra's palaces and the scene of Hypatia's murder, award-winning author Irene Vallejo chronicles the excitement of literary culture in the ancient world, and the heroic efforts that ensured this impressive tradition would continue.

Weaved throughout are fascinating stories about the spies, scribes, illuminators, librarians, booksellers, authors, and statesmen whose rich and sometimes complicated engagement with the written word bears remarkable similarities to the world today: Aristophanes and the censorship of the humourists, Sappho and the empowerment of women's voices, Seneca and the problem of a post-truth world.

Vallejo takes us to mountainous landscapes and the roaring sea, to the capitals where culture flourished and the furthest reaches where knowledge found refuge in chaotic times. In this sweeping tour of the history of books, the wonder of the ancient world comes alive and along the way we discover the singular power of the written word.

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Praise for Papyrus: The Invention of Books in the Ancient World

  • An outstanding, universal and unique book. - The New York Times

  • One can be a masterful philologist and at the same time write like the angels... a true literary feast. - ABC

  • An incredible, universal, and unique book which will no doubt become a classic. - El Periodico de Aragon

  • It's a joy to read Irene Vallejo's prose, she is such a brilliant creator and full of sensitivity.

  • '[A] masterpiece . . . I am absolutely sure that it will continue to be read when its readers today are already in the afterlife.'

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Irene Vallejo

Irene Vallejo earned her European Doctorate from the Universities of Zaragoza and Florence. Papyrus was awarded the National Essay Prize, the Critical Eye Prize for Narrative and the Bookstore Recommendation Award, and will be published in thirty countries. She is a regular columnist for El
and Heraldo de Aragon, and is the author of two children's books, two novels, and three collections of essays, articles, and short fiction.

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