Hyphens & Hashtags*: *The stories behind the symbols on our keyboards

SKU: BODS-100404

'Elevates what could have been a nerdy primer into something grander, and at various moments, the book becomes meditative, poetic, philosophical and funny, as well as scholarly.' - The Spectator

'Scribes, typesetters, editors and publishers have had as much impact on these symbols as writers and thinkers themselves. … A lovely gift for a type or word-lover in your life, or a present for yourself, of course.' - shinynewbooks.co.uk

'As well as being a really interesting read, there was much I learned which I didn’t know before! … This is a lovely book and a fascinating read – highly recommended!' - Kaggsy's Bookish Ramblings

The punctuation marks, mathematical symbols and glyphs which haunt the edges of our keyboards have evolved over many hundreds of years. They shape our understanding of texts, calculations and online interactions. Without these symbols all texts would run in endless unbroken lines of letters and numbers. 

Many hands and minds have created, refined and promulgated the symbols which give form to our written communication. Through individual entries discussing the story behind each example, Hyphens & Hashtags reveals the long road many of these special characters have taken on their way into general use. In the digital age of communication, some symbols have gained an additional meaning or a new lease of life – the colon now doubles up as the eyes of a smiling face emoticon and the hashtag has travelled from obscurity to an essential component of social media. Alongside historical roots, this book also considers ever-evolving modern usage and uncovers those symbols which have now fallen out of fashion. 

Hyphens & Hashtags casts a well-deserved spot-light on these stalwarts of typography whose handy knack for summing up a command or concept in simple shorthand marshals our sentences, clarifies a calculation or adds some much-needed emotion to our online interactions. 

CLAIRE COCK-STARKEY is the author of over a dozen non-fiction books on a variety of subjects but all united in their aim to tell fascinating stories.

  • Hardback
  • 192 pages, 184 x 118 mm
  • ISBN: 9781851245369
  • Publication March 2021

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