Inventing Slavonic Cultures of Writing Between Rome and Constantinople

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Inventing Slavonic Cultures of Writing Between Rome and Constantinople by Ivanova, Mirela, 9780198891505
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  • ISBN: 9780198891505 | 0198891504
  • Cover: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 4/17/2024

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Few alphabets in the world are actively celebrated, and none more so than the Slavonic. Annually across Eastern Europe, the alphabet and its inventors, Cyril and Methodios, are celebrated with parades, concerts, liturgical services, and public addresses by presidents, ministers, and mayors. Inventing Slavonic: Cultures of Writing Between Rome and Constantinople offers a new reading of the invention of the Slavonic alphabet and its implications. Its premise is simple: namely, that the alphabet was not invented once, but that it continued to be contested and redefined in the century after its creation. However, Inventing Slavonic goes against the grain of modern scholarship and popular common sense, where a stable and fossilized story about Cyril, his brother and companion Methodios, and the alphabet still persists.

Mirela Ivanova shows that this well-known story is, in fact, a Frankenstein's monster, bolted together from texts which originally attributed quite different and often conflicting meanings to the elements which make up this supposedly unified narrative. In this narrative's place, the book offers a series of new readings of our earliest sources for the alphabet's appearance. In doing so, it constructs a new social history of the early script's fragility, and the ways in which its existence was conditioned by changes in socio-political life between Rome and Constantinople.
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