To effect change through design
Out on the lake

Whimsical and Subversive

Bertrand_russell

Cover: The Good Citizen's Alphabet by Bertrand Russell / Gaberbocchus Press, illustration by Franciszka Themerson, 1953

"the ABC, that gateway to all wisdom, is not made sufficiently attractive to immature minds."
    -- Bertrand Russell

I love letters and I am intrigued by alphabet books. What words has the author chosen to represent each letter? Is there a theme or just random words? What type font is used to display the letters? The Good Citizen's Alphabet, by Bertrand Russell, first published in 1953, is a creative and ... subversive alphabet book. The Design Observer writes:

It is fascinating to think back to the early 1950s. A couple of Polish émigrés, having studied physics, architecture and painting, and having made a few art films and started a publishing company, sit down with a leading philosopher to make something whimsical and subversive. That an alphabet book was the outcome pleases me to no end.

Russell's citizen's alphabet ["A" (asinine) to "Z" (zeal)] is full of words important to political and social discourse. Each has a wonderful illustration and, though it is over 50 years old, the words and definitions are oh so relevant in the world we live in today ["O" is "objective"--a delusion which other lunatics share]. View a slide show of the book here.

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