From hieroglyphics to Isotype

a visual autobiography

Neurath, Otto


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From Hie­ro­gly­phics to Iso­ty­pe inclu­des an appen­dix showing examp­les from Neurath’s exten­si­ve collec­tion of visu­al mate­ri­al. From 1943 until his death in Decem­ber 1945, Aus­tri­an socio­lo­gist Otto Neurath worked tireless­ly on nume­rous ver­si­ons­of an inno­va­ti­ve visu­al auto­bio­gra­phy enti­t­led From Hie­ro­gly­phics to Isotype.

Otto Neurath wro­te From hie­ro­gly­phics to Iso­ty­pe during the last two years of his life: this is the first publi­ca­ti­on of the full text, care­ful­ly edi­ted from the ori­gi­nal manu­scripts in the Otto & Marie Neurath Iso­ty­pe Collec­tion at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Rea­ding. Cal­ling it a ‘visu­al auto­bio­gra­phy’, Neurath docu­ments the impor­t­ance to him of visu­al mate­ri­al, from his ear­liest years to his pro­fes­sio­nal acti­vi­ty with the pic­tu­re lan­guage of Iso­ty­pe. He draws clear con­nec­tions bet­ween the sti­mu­lus he recei­ved as a boy – from illus­tra­ted books, toys, and exhi­bi­ti­ons – to the con­si­de­red work in visu­al edu­ca­ti­on that occu­p­ied him for the last twen­ty years of his life. This enga­ging and infor­mal account gives a rich pic­tu­re of Cen­tral-Euro­pean cul­tu­re around the turn of the twen­tieth cen­tu­ry, as well as an expo­si­ti­on of the tech­ni­ques of Iso­ty­pe. The edi­ti­on inclu­des the nume­rous illus­tra­ti­ons inten­ded by Neurath to accom­pa­ny his text, and is com­ple­ted by an exten­si­ve appen­dix showing examp­les from the rich varie­ty of gra­phic mate­ri­al that he collected.

Fore­word (Eric Kin­del & Sue Walker)
Intro­duc­tion (Chris­to­pher Burke)
Pre­face (Mat­thew Eve)

1. Why I am wri­ting a visu­al autobiography
2. Ear­ly impressions
3. How I loo­ked at our library
4. Pic­tu­re page­an­try for the dead and hie­ro­gly­phics throughout the centuries
5. The renais­sance of hieroglyphics

Appen­dix: Otto Neurath as collector











a visual autobiography

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