A comic about mathematics and Bertrand Russell?

Oh yes. Logicomix by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H Papadimitriou is an utter gem of a graphic novel – anyone who disses comics as lacking in intellectual rigour needs this thrust into their hands at once.

I’ve learned about arcane works like Russell’s Principia Mathematica (co-written with Alfred North Whitehead), logicians, philosophers, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Georg Cantor, set theory, David Hilbert, and the Incompleteness Theoreom. These are not people or ideas I’ve encountered before, and I thought this would be all too high falutingly intellectual and frightening.

But this graphic novel cleverly draws you into this world of unbounded thought. It tells the story of Bertrand Russell’s life as a thirsty quest for knowledge and truth, and it also explores the link between logic and madness. The writers Doxiadis and Papadimitriou and the husband and wife team of artists Alecos Papadatos and Annie di Donna inhabit the world of Logicomix too as a kind of chorus (in cartoon form).

It’s a profound book and shows the life of the mind as far more dangerous and challenging than any physical adventure. Read it, weep.

6 thoughts on “A comic about mathematics and Bertrand Russell?

  1. Tom 11 November 2009 / 5:41 pm

    Sounds interesting! Does it have the preserved corpse of Jeremy Bentham sitting in and ‘chairing’ discussions?

  2. Donna 12 November 2009 / 9:34 am

    You’d better copyright that idea, it could be tackled if this whole philosophy/maths/graphic novel thing takes off

  3. Josie Brennan 16 November 2009 / 2:15 pm

    There’s talk of a sequel featuring Alan Turing! Such a great book – Logicomix is one of my top books of the year.

  4. Donna 16 November 2009 / 2:47 pm

    Thanks for that news Josie. I’m well pleased by that idea.

    They mention Turing briefly in such a way that makes it quite likely they’d like to talk more about him.

  5. Eugene Huston 20 December 2009 / 10:35 pm

    Where to buy in CHCH for Xmas ?

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