A Place For Everything: The Curious History of Alphabetical Order (Paperback)
  • A Place For Everything: The Curious History of Alphabetical Order (Paperback)
zoom

A Place For Everything: The Curious History of Alphabetical Order (Paperback)

(author)
2 Reviews Sign in to write a review
£9.99
Paperback 368 Pages / Published: 04/02/2021
  • 10+ in stock

Available

  • This item has been added to your basket
Your local Waterstones may have stock of this item. Please check by using Click & Collect

'A delightfully quirky sturdy . . . [Flanders] is a meticulour historian with a taste for the offbeat; the story of the alphabet suits her well . . . Fascinating.' Sunday Times

Once we've learned it as children, few of us think much of the alphabet and its familiar sing-song order. And yet the order of the alphabet continues to play a major role in our adult lives. From school registers to electoral rolls, from dictionaries and encyclopaedias to library shelves, our lives have been ordered from A to Z. Long before Google searches, this magical system of organization gave us the ability to sort through centuries of thought, knowledge and literature, allowing us to sift, file, and find the information we have, and to locate the information we need.

In A Place for Everything, acclaimed historian Judith Flanders fascinatingly lays out the gradual triumph of alphabetical order, from its use as a sorting tool in the Great Library of Alexandria to its current decline in prominence in the digital age. Along the way, the reader encounters a wonderful cast of characters,from the great collector Robert Cotton, who catalogued his manuscripts by the names of the busts of the Roman emperors surmounting his book cases, to the unassuming sixteenth-century London bookseller who ushered in a revolution by listing his authors by 'sirname' first.

'One of the many fascinations of Judith Flanders' book is that it reveals what a weird, unlikely creation the alphabet is.' Guardian

Publisher: Pan Macmillan
ISBN: 9781509881581
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 276 g
Dimensions: 198 x 130 x 25 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Marvellous . . . I read it with astonished delight . . . It is equally scholarly and entertaining. -- Jan Morris
Quirky and compelling . . . She is a meticulous historian with a taste for the offbeat; the story of the alphabet suits her well . . . Fascinating. -- Dan Jones * Sunday Times *
A library and academic essential. -- Libby Purves * The Times *
One of the many fascinations of Judith Flanders's book is that it reveals what a weird, unlikely creation the alphabet is. -- Joe Moran * Guardian *
Judith Flanders's A Place for Everything presents itself as a history of alphabetical order, but in fact it is more than that. Rather, as the title suggests, it offers something like a general history of the various ways humans have sorted and filed the world around them - a Collison -level view of the matter, in which alphabetical order is just one system among many.' -- Dennis Duncan * The Spectator *
Judith Flanders has a knack for making odd subjects accessible . . . In A Place for Everything, the popular historian paints alphabetisation as one of our most radical acts. . . Flanders retains a sense of fun . . . finds contemporary resonance in humanity's search for order. * i *
Praise for Judith Flanders' previous book, Christmas: A Biography: 'A catalogue of colourful information, and as surprising an assortment of items as any you might find heaped up under a tree.' -- Lucy Hughes-Hallett * Observer *
A well-researched account. There are more footnotes here than there are presents under a Rockefeller Christmas tree. Indeed, the book is stuffed with facts - enough to satiate even the most ravenous postprandial taste for quizzing. * Sunday Times *
[An] entertaining biography . . . Following the fine tradition of light entertainment Christmas books, Judith Flanders provides lots of trivia . . . However, there is much more to it than that. Flanders is a respected social historian, best known for studies on Victorian life, and the strength of this warm book lies in its quiet erudition. * The Times *
Judith Flanders . . . likes Christmas (I think), but she loves reality and its awkward, amusing facts. (A previous book of hers, Inside the Victorian Home, is deep, bright and encompassing.) * New York Times *
The non-fiction I most enjoyed . . . an excellent subject, carried out with exemplary care and authority. -- Philip Hensher * Spectator *

You may also be interested in...

The Naming of the Shrew
Added to basket
The Secret Life of Pronouns
Added to basket
Lost in Translation
Added to basket
Red Herrings and White Elephants
Added to basket
Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs
Added to basket
The Story of English in 100 Words
Added to basket
The Horologicon
Added to basket
£8.99
Paperback
Spell It Out
Added to basket
£9.99
Paperback
The Unfolding Of Language
Added to basket
Wordwatching
Added to basket
£12.99
Paperback
Accidence Will Happen
Added to basket
Two Girls, One on Each Knee
Added to basket
A Little Book of Language
Added to basket
The Golden Thread
Added to basket
£14.99
Paperback

“Order! Order!”

First, a confession. While I did find this book interesting, I have to admit to my brain fogging over at times, such as with the intricacies of 16th century book indexing. (no offence to the author!)
It's... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 9

“A Place for this Book!”

As a linguist with a mind for facts and anecdotes, I was excited to receive a proof copy of this book - and it has delivered! An insightful dive into the history of something so often taken for granted that we forget... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 9

Please sign in to write a review

Your review has been submitted successfully.