The Index: those pages at the back of the book where you go to look things up. Little do we realise that the index conceals a realm of ambition and obsession, sparring and politicking, pleasure and play; it is an unsung but extraordinary everyday tool, with an illustrious but little-known past.

Charting its curious path from the monasteries and universities of thirteenth-century Europe to Silicon Valley in the twenty-first, Dennis Duncan reveals how the index has saved heretics from the stake, kept politicians from high office and made us all into the readers we are today. We follow it through German print shops and Enlightenment coffee houses, novelists’ living rooms and university laboratories, encountering emperors and popes, philosophers and prime ministers, poets, librarians and indexers along the way. Revealing its vast role in our evolving literary and intellectual culture, Duncan shows that, for all our anxieties about the Age of Search, we are all index-rakers at heart, and we have been for eight hundred years.


Cover: Hardback

ISBN: 9780241374238

No. of Pages: 352

Dimensions: 240 × 33 × 162mm

Published by Allen Lane


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