Friday, April 29, 2011


The Logicomix graphic novel (which I believe is available in English) has been getting high praise from just about everyone here in Finland. The premise is interesting: it's a metatextual rendering of the history of mathematical, exact logic. It's told from many perspectives: the artists discussing the book under construction and Bertrand Russell telling about his life in a public speech, with the story moving forwards and backwards in time. The examples of logic Russell gives in his speech are also played out in the present time, with the artists discussing them. 

Logicomix is a fluent read, but I got the feeling it's also overhyped. The art is a bit stale (the artists are said to have collaborated earlier on the Babar animated TV show...) and while there's a lot of stuff going on all the time, with many important mathematical thinkers and philosophers popping in and popping out, I didn't realize what the fuss was about. (Plus I didn't understand many of the dilemmas presented, which may explain why I wasn't as fascinated as some others.) The stuff with Ludwig Wittgenstein was probably the most powerful. But I'd say if you're interested at all in the mathematics or the history of philosophical logic, you should try Logicomix. I just wish it would've been more original, more courageous. As a graphic novel, it's way behind Spiegelman's Maus, anything by Will Eisner, Alan Moore's and Eddie Campbell's From Hell etc. 

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