To effect change through design
Out on the lake

Whimsical and Subversive


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.


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)