Princeton University Library Catalog

A material history of medieval and early modern ciphers : cryptography and the history of literacy / edited by Katherine Ellison and Susan Kim.

  • New York ; London : Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2018.
  • ©2018
First edition.
xii, 285 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Material readings in early modern culture. [More in this series]
Summary note:
The first cultural history of early modern cryptography, this collection brings together scholars in history, literature, music, the arts, mathematics, and computer science who study ciphering and deciphering from new materialist, media studies, cognitive studies, disability studies, and other theoretical perspectives. Essays analyze the material forms of ciphering as windows into the cultures of orality, manuscript, print, and publishing, revealing that early modern ciphering, and the complex history that preceded it in the medieval period, not only influenced political and military history but also played a central role in the emergence of the capitalist media state in the West, in religious reformation, and in the scientific revolution. Ciphered communication, whether in etched stone and bone, in musical notae, runic symbols, polyalphabetic substitution, algebraic equations, graphic typographies, or literary metaphors, took place in contested social spaces and offered a means of expression during times of political, economic, and personal upheaval. Ciphering shaped the early history of linguistics as a discipline, and it bridged theological and scientific rhetoric before and during the Reformation. Ciphering was an occult art, a mathematic language, and an aesthetic that influenced music, sculpture, painting, drama, poetry, and the early novel.
Bibliographic references:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Introduction: ciphers and the material history of literacy / Katherine Ellison and Susan Kim -- Medieval musical notes as cryptography / Elsa De Luca and John Haines -- Keeping history : images, texts, ciphers, and the Franks Casket / Susan Kim and Asa Simon Mittman -- Anglo-Saxon ciphers / Stephen J. Harris -- The cryptographic imagination : revealing and concealing in Anglo-Saxon literature / E.J. Christie -- The printing press and cryptography : Alberti and the dawn of a notational epoch / Quinn Dupont -- "That you are both decipher'd" : revealing espionage and staging written evidence in early modern England / Lisa M. Barksdale-Shaw -- Out of "their covert of words" : cipher and secrecy in the writing of early modern algebra / Lisa Wilde -- Limited by their letters : alphabets, codes, and gesture in seventeenth-century England / Michael C. Clody -- Deciphering and the exhaustion of recombination / Katherine Ellison -- "What I write I do not see" : reading and writing with invisible ink / Karen Britland -- Real life cryptology : enciphering practice in early modern Hungary / Benedek Láng -- Afterword: the critical legacy of medieval and early modern cryptography before and after World War I / Katherine Ellison and Susan Kim.
  • Criticism, interpretation, etc.
  • History.
  • 9781138244641 (hardback : alk. paper)
  • 1138244643 (hardback : alk. paper)
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