The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image

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Penguin, 1999 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 475 pages
151 Reviews
Making remarkable connections across a wide range of subjects including brain anatomy and function, anthropology, history, and religion, Shlain argues that, with the advent of literacy, the very act of reading an alphabet reinforced the brain's left hemisphere - linear, abstract, predominantly masculine at the expense of the right holistic, concrete, visual, feminine. This shift upset the balance between men and women, and initiated the disappearance of goddesses, the abhorrence of images, the decline of women's social and political status, and a long reign of patriarchy and misogyny.
The Alphabet Versus the Goddess tracks the correlations between the rise and fall of literacy and the changing status of women in society, mythology, and religion throughout European history, and in other cultures as well.
Shlain goes on to describe a colossal shift he calls the iconic revolution, now under way, that began in the nineteenth century: the return of the image. The invention of photography and the discovery of electromagnetism have brought us film, television, video, computers, advertising, graphics - and a shift from the dominance of the left hemisphere to reassertion of the right. Image information has gradually been superseding print information, and in the resulting social revolution women have benefited as society shifts to embrace feminine values.
  

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Interesting premise and execution. - Goodreads
His research is vast and quite stunning. - Goodreads
Slain's writing style is almost addicting. - Goodreads
The use of goddess imagery does not imply feminism. - Goodreads
But I think the premise is fascinating. - Goodreads
And all of that was the basic overview. - Goodreads

Review: The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image

User Review  - Raymond Nakamura - Goodreads

Fascinating argument that all through history, when alphabetic systems become dominant, a society becomes more left-brained, linear, hierarchical and misogynistic. Sure literacy is powerful, but it is ... Read full review

Review: The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image

User Review  - Keri Jensen - Goodreads

I loved this! I never realized how misogynistic mythology was or how much we are affected by how we communicate. It articulated several issues I have with the Old Testament. Makes me glad I live in a world with computers, TVs and movies. Read full review

Contents

IMAGEWORD l
3
HUNTERSGATHERERS
8
RIGHT BRAINLEFT BRAIN
17
DEATHFEMALES LIFE
28
NONVERBALVERBAL
40
CUNEIFORMMARDUK
45
HIEROGLYPHSISIS
53
ALEPHBET
64
BIRTHDEATH
168
YINYANG
179
B C A D
203
DEATHREBIRTH
222
PATRIARCHSHERETICS
237
REASONMADNESS
252
MUSLIN VEILSMUSLIM WORDS
278
MYSTICSCHOLASTIC 10001300
292

HEBREWSISRAELITES
72
ABRAHAMMOSES
87
U THERAMATZAH
103
ADAMEVE
112
CADMUSALPHA
120
SAPPHOGANYMEDE
132
DIONYSUSAPOLLO
136
ATHENSSPARTA
149
LINGAMYONI
159
HUMANISTEGOIST 13001500
309
PROTESTANTCATHOLIC
323
FAITHHATE
341
SORCERYSCIENCE
362
POSITIVENEGATIVE 16481899
378
PAGESCREEN 19452000
407
Epilogue
430
Bibliography
445
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

Leonard Shlain is the author ofArt & Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time & Light, and TheAlphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image. He is the chief of laparoscopic surgery at California Medical Center in San Francisco.

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