The Written World is not only an expansive, exuberant survey of the central importance of literature in human culture, but it is also a great adventure story - a story of letters and paper and rocket ships, of ruthless conquerors and elegant court ladies and middle-class entrepreneurs, of the will to power and the dream of freedom... Puchner brings home to us how much we have been formed over the millennia by the tales we have invented and recorded'
Stephen Greenblatt, author, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern
A unique and spellbinding book. Martin Puchner's dramatic storytelling leads us through the mazes and underworlds of civilization at key moments when it is being built or unbuilt. The Written World shows the way 'great books' - and the alphabets, clay tablets, and printing presses by which they were spread - provided both the rudder and the sails for humanity's voyage across vast oceans of time
Elaine Scarry, author, Naming Thy Name: Cross Talk in Shakespeare's Sonnets
From Mesopotamia to the moon! The Written World is an imaginative, informative, and ingenious history of civilization in the form of narrative of what people have written and read over the last 4,000 years. It's an exhilarating feat of intellectual athleticism. The big picture doesn't get much bigger
Louis Menand, author, The Metaphysical Club: A Stoy of Ideas in America
Martin Puchner on Granta.com
Essays & Memoir | The Online Edition
Murasaki’s Paper Trail
Martin Puchner on how Murasaki Shikibu, a lady-in-waiting at the Japanese court, manage to write the first great novel of world literature.