- Gebundene Ausgabe: 384 Seiten
- Verlag: Ecco (14. Mai 2013)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0062228838
- ISBN-13: 978-0062228833
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 15,2 x 3,1 x 22,9 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: Schreiben Sie die erste Bewertung
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 496.945 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code (Ala Notable Books for Adults) (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 14. Mai 2013
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“Fox is a talented storyteller, and she creates an atmosphere of almost nail-biting suspense. . . . This one deserves shelf space along such classics of the genre as Simon Singh’s The Code Book.” (Booklist (starred review))
“A fascinating yarn centered around an unlikely heroine. . . . Fox’s deft explanations of the script-solving process allow readers to share in the mental detective work of cracking the lost language.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Fox recreates the emergence of one of history’s most vexing puzzles—and then puts readers alongside the remarkable figures who, brilliantly, obsessively, and even tragically, devoted their lives to solving it. Forget the Da Vinci Code. This is the real thing.” (Toby Lester, author of Da Vinci's Ghost)
“Margalit Fox describes the decipherment of Linear B in such lucid detail that any reader can follow the steps and participate in the thrill of discovery.” (Stephen Mitchell, translator of Gilgamesh and the Iliad)
“Fox’s achievement here is to make this fascinating tale accessible to a broader audience.” (Washington Post)
“… a nail-biting intellectual and cultural adventure.” (The Times UK)
“Deft, sharply written … Fox’s account runs with the pace and tension of a detective story - and has much to say about language and writing systems along the way.” (The Guardian UK)
“[Fox] … has cracked it, fashioning an intellectual puzzle into an engrossing detective story of driven personalities, hidden clues, perseverance and intuition. In the process, she has uncovered a remarkable woman who had been buried by history.” (Sunday Times UK)
“As with any good detective story, there’s a driving narrative behind the puzzle, peopled by solitary sleuths.” (The Guardian US)
In 1900, while excavating on Crete, the charismatic Victorian archaeologist Arthur Evans unearthed inscribed clay tablets amid the ruins of a lavish Bronze Age palace. Written by palace scribes circa 1450 b.c., the script they displayed—featuring outline drawings of swords, chariots, and horses' heads, as well as other tiny pictograms—resembled no alphabet ever seen. Evans named the script Linear B, and from the start it posed a deep mystery. No one knew what language Linear B recorded, much less what the curious inscriptions meant. If the tablets could be deciphered, they would open a portal onto a refined, wealthy, and literate society that had flourished in Greek lands three thousand years earlier, a full millennium before the glories of the Classical Age.
The Riddle of the Labyrinth is the true story of the quest to solve one of the most mesmerizing riddles in history—Linear B—and of the three brilliant, obsessed, and ultimately doomed investigators whose combined work would eventually crack the code. There was Evans, who had discovered the script but could never unravel it; Alice Kober, the fiery American scholar whose vital work on Linear B never got the recognition it deserved; and Michael Ventris, the haunted English architect who would solve the riddle triumphantly at the age of thirty only to die four years later under circumstances that remain the subject of speculation even now.
For half a century some of the world's foremost scholars tried to coax the tablets to yield their secrets. Then, in 1952, the script was deciphered seemingly in a single stroke—not by a scholar but by Ventris, an impassioned amateur whose obsession with the tablets had begun in childhood. The decipherment brought him worldwide acclaim. But it also cost him his architectural career, his ties to his family, and quite possibly his life.
That is the narrative of the decipherment as it has been known thus far. But a major actor in the drama has long been missing: Alice Kober, a classicist at Brooklyn College. Though largely forgotten today, she came within a hair's breadth of deciphering Linear B before her own untimely death in 1950. As The Riddle of the Labyrinth reveals, it was Kober who built the foundation on which Ventris's decipherment stood, an achievement that until now has been all but lost to history. Drawing on a newly opened archive of Kober's papers, Margalit Fox restores this unsung heroine to her rightful place at last.
Above all, this book is a detective story in the tradition of Dava Sobel and Simon Winchester. As Fox narrates the lives of Evans, Kober, and Ventris, she takes readers step-by-step through the forensic process involved in cracking a secret code from the past. Following the three investigators as they hunt down, analyze, and interpret a series of linguistic clues hidden within the script itself, The Riddle of the Labyrinth offers the first complete account of one of the most fascinating conundrums of all time.Alle Produktbeschreibungen
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"At its center was a set of tablets, buried for almost three thousand years and first unearthed only at the dawn of the twentieth century. Dating from the second millenium BC, the tablets were inscribed with a set of prehistoric symbols like no writing ever seen."
"This is the true story of one of the most mesmerizing riddles in Western history and, in particular, of the unsung American woman who would have very likely have solved it had she only lived a little longer."
The people who wrote on these tablets were not writing in code or trying to deceive others or us in the future. They kept records for each other and when we lost them as a people, we lost their language as well. This book tells the story of those people who dedicated themselves to solving the riddle of this language and establishing a connection with these people from three and four thousand years ago.
The decipherment of Egyptian Hieroglyphics was solvable once the Rosetta Stone was found, which contained a translation into Greek. However Linear B looking like stick figures or the runic alphabet, had no comparable Cliff Notes.
But I also found the book an excellent guide for anyone interested in doing statistical research. The parallels between the two were uncanny. To decipher Linear B required pattern analysis, counting and frequency analysis before there were computers to make those tasks easier. We have computers to aid us now, but the process of creating a framework to do the research is the same: A lot of setup and then lots and lots of actual work.
My only complaint is the author has an agenda of trying to give most credit to Alice Kober, the American who provided many of the necessary keys. However deserving Kober might have been, she published little and did not “break the finish line tape.” There is indeed a reason why we remember those who won gold medals, but not those who won silver. And there are some unnecessary copies of correspondence. But neither of my concerns would take away from the 5 stars this work deserves.
However, one of the major premises of Fox's book--that Dr. Kober's contribution to the decipherment of Linear B has been unjustly neglected because she was female--is simply not demonstrated in this work. In everything I have ever read by and about Ventris and Chadwick, save the initial BBC interview done by Ventris, due credit was given to Dr. Kober as a scholar who did necessary foundational work that made Ventris' job much easier.
Moreover, Dr. Kober was certainly not ignored in her own time: she was published in major scholarly journals; she was asked to give guest lectures on the Minoan scripts; she received a Guggenheim Fellowship to study Linear B; she was chosen by one of the two leading archeologists working in Crete and Greece to help him make sense of the texts he had uncovered and to ready them for publication (Fox tries to pass off her work as essentially secretarial, but Dr. Kober was far more important than that to the publishing of Scripta Minoa II); she was one of a dozen or so scholars engaged in serious study of the script; she was strongly considered by the U of Pennsylvania to head a new institute for the study of Minoan scripts. I have no doubt that there was some prejudice against her among faculty and administrators when she applied for the job at Penn (though the male friend who was championing her application specifically denied it), but there is simply not much evidence presented in the book that being female held her back terribly.
All that said, it was a pleasure to have Fox spend the time to discuss Dr. Kober's theories about Linear B in detail, which I have never seen anywhere else. The biographical details, meager as they are, were also a worthy addition to the book. The book is worth reading just for the middle third about Dr. Kober.
My other minor complaint about the book is that it is not especially well-organized within each section.
The book is not aimed at serious scholars. However, even for amateurs who already know quite a bit about the subject, the book is still worth reading because it fleshes out a portrait of Dr. Alice Kober.
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