mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli
mordicai

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When the angel's hung around. (31)

Logicomix by Apostolos Doxiadis, Christos Papadimitriou, Alecos Papadatos & Annie Di Donna.

That most noble search!
The quest for truth, & logic--
or its invention.

When I first heard about this book, I was pretty excited: a comic about Bertrand Russel? Featuring the likes of Wittgenstein & Gödel (which made me think of dac since they do talk about imperfect sets)? Right on; I'm an interested layperson! Bring on the noise! & it did, really. I quite liked it. The art, first off, is very nice; I keep bringing up Scott McCloud lately, but I keep seeing things influenced by him, & I think this definitely was; which is to say, reading lit crit to make good use of the comic form? Right on. We get peaks into the biography of Russel, but the book takes a much more flexible position on history-- Russel most likely wasn't in the room personally when some of the events happened, & probably never exchanged words face to face with some of the participants in the story, but their philosophical positions & academic exchanges have been placed in word bubbles for ease of narrative (in fact, rather like the reveal of the unreliable narrator in Book of the Long Sun). The book is self aware-- the frame story is the book's creators talking about the book-- but never strives to be something it isn't-- but nor does it shirk from taking risks. It ends, for instance, with the final bit of the Oresteia? Weirdly, but appropriately, enough. Most of the contributors to the book are Greek (gee, could you guess?) & it is interesting how just slightly askew their perceptions of the World Wars are. Like-- would American books even discuss the Isolationists? Or put Russia & Germany at two ends of the spectrum? Or discuss the British non-aggression pact as being so pivotal? Not wrong, but different "accepted assumptions" regarding the Axis & Allies than the "American version"-- which, admittedly, the Russel bit necessitates, since the other frame story is an older Bertie talking to an audience hall full of protesters. I think this book ought to do well, especially in academic markets; I know if I was teaching Intro to Logic I'd put this as assigned reading. It isn't a "logic for dummies" or anything like that-- don't let my comment fool you. Just that as the book follows Russel, & Russel's life & work, it naturally brings up some of the major issues with the foundations of reason.
Tags: books, comics, haiku
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