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Codex Seraphinianus Hardcover – 5 Nov 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Rizzoli International Publications; Pck Har/Bk edition (5 Nov. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847842134
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847842131
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 4.6 x 34.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 36,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

."..the book really does live up to its reputation: The drawings are in turn hilarious, disturbing, bizarre and, sometimes, just flat-out incomprehensible, but all of them are annotated in Serafini's script." -"Dangerous Minds
"
"It's not the sort of thing that easily lends itself to classification, but probably the most accurate way to describe it would be as an encyclopedia of an invented alien civilization...the Codex is still a disorienting and provocative vision of inscrutable otherness." -"Slate.com
"
""Codex Seraphinianus" is an art book in the most direct sense--there are big, beautiful drawings accompanied by indecipherable letterforms--and it is impossible to "read" in a literal way. The text has remained a mystery all these years, and perhaps that's part of its draw as an art object." -"FineBooks Magazine
"
"Is the best art book of the year one that is not only impossible for me to review, but one that is probably equally impossible for you to understand? It's a handsome, hilarious and enduring puzzle that not only features wonderful art in it, but in its entirety captures another kind of human creativity--the encyclopedia, the result of compiling and collecting, and an unlikely medium for artists."" -North Adams Transcript"

."..a weird and wonderful masterpiece of art and philosophical provocation on the precipice of the information age....Undoubtedly one of the most intricate and beautiful art books ever created." -"Braing Pickings"

..".the book really does live up to its reputation: The drawings are in turn hilarious, disturbing, bizarre and, sometimes, just flat-out incomprehensible, but all of them are annotated in Serafini's script." -"Dangerous Minds
"
"It's not the sort of thing that easily lends itself to classification, but probably the most accurate way to describe it would be as an encyclopedia of an invented alien civilization...the Codex is still a disorienting and provocative vision of inscrutable otherness." -"Slate.com
"
""Codex Seraphinianus" is an art book in the most direct sense--there are big, beautiful drawings accompanied by indecipherable letterforms--and it is impossible to "read" in a literal way. The text has remained a mystery all these years, and perhaps that's part of its draw as an art object." -"FineBooks Magazine
"
"Is the best art book of the year one that is not only impossible for me to review, but one that is probably equally impossible for you to understand? It's a handsome, hilarious and enduring puzzle that not only features wonderful art in it, but in its entirety captures another kind of human creativity--the encyclopedia, the result of compiling and collecting, and an unlikely medium for artists."" -North Adams Transcript"
""Codex Seraphinianus" History's Most Bizarre and Beautiful Encyclopedia, Brought Back to Life...a weird and wonderful masterpiece of art and philosophical provocation on the precipice of the information age....Undoubtedly one of the most intricate and beautiful art books ever created." -"Brain Pickings"
"Wow. One of the strangest and most beautiful books ever published."" -Faerie Tales"
" "
" "Codex Seraphinianus" is in a sense the most elaborate book of doodles ever made. What makes it much more than that is not just the quality of Serafini's drawings and the superior book-making craft, but its brilliant structure. Part of the genius of the "Codex" is that there is enough information to be familiar but not enough to make any sense."" -Spectrum Culture"
" "
"The intense strangeness of "Codex Seraphinianus" belies the joyous feel of the artistry. Even the oddest, most unnerving images are rendered with pastel beauty, and a softness that makes them almost endearing."" -KQED"

the book really does live up to its reputation: The drawings are in turn hilarious, disturbing, bizarre and, sometimes, just flat-out incomprehensible, but all of them are annotated in Serafini s script. -"Dangerous Minds
"
It s not the sort of thing that easily lends itself to classification, but probably the most accurate way to describe it would be as an encyclopedia of an invented alien civilization the Codex is still a disorienting and provocative vision of inscrutable otherness. -"Slate.com
"
"Codex Seraphinianus" is an art book in the most direct sense there are big, beautiful drawings accompanied by indecipherable letterforms--andit is impossible to read in a literal way. The text has remained a mystery all these years, and perhaps that s part of its draw as an art object. -"FineBooks Magazine
"
Is the best art book of the year one that is not only impossible for me to review, but one that is probably equally impossible for you to understand? It s a handsome, hilarious and enduring puzzle that not only features wonderful art in it, but in its entirety captures another kind of human creativity the encyclopedia, the result of compiling and collecting, and an unlikely medium for artists. "-North Adams Transcript"
""Codex Seraphinianus" History s Most Bizarre and Beautiful Encyclopedia, Brought Back to Life...a weird and wonderful masterpiece of art and philosophical provocation on the precipice of the information age....Undoubtedly one of the most intricate and beautiful art books ever created." -"Brain Pickings"
Wow. One of the strangest and most beautiful books ever published. " Faerie Tales"
" "
" Codex Seraphinianus" is in a sense the most elaborate book of doodles ever made. What makes it much more than that is not just the quality of Serafini s drawings and the superior book-making craft, but its brilliant structure. Part of the genius of the "Codex" is that there is enough information to be familiar but not enough to make any sense. " Spectrum Culture"
" "
The intense strangeness of "Codex Seraphinianus" belies the joyous feel of the artistry. Even the oddest, most unnerving images are rendered with pastel beauty, and a softness that makes them almost endearing. " KQED""

About the Author

Luigi Serafini is an architect, ceramist, glazier, painter, sculptor, designer, opera director, set designer, and critic who works in Italy and abroad. In 2007, the Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea in Milan dedicated a successful "mostra ontological" (ontological exhibition) to him. He has illustrated works by Franz Kafka and Michael Ende.


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First off, this is a big book. Not for smaller bookshelves. It's bound in cream, with the details picked out in gold-look foil. Substantial, but not heavy. The paper is high quality, crenellated, and slightly see-through. I don't think I need to describe the contents, other than to say the print quality is very high.

As an entire work, it is an encyclopedia and a guide to an imagined world.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first learned of this book in a rather obscure anthology, Douglas Hofstadter's "Metamagical Themas". I was deeply intrigued, and began investigating. At that time, though, Hofstadter's book itself was decades old, and the Codex was long out of print and extremely expensive. Only when it was reprinted was I able to order a copy. I have never regretted it. If you have come this far you probably know what it is, but should you be new to this volume it is an encyclopaedia of an imagined world, illustrated in painstaking detail, and with pages of text explaining everything. The twist is that the text, though always clear and coherent, is in an imaginary alphabet that nobody can read - not even the author, who says that he made it up as he went along - and the pictures, so intricate and beautiful, are so strange that you can never quite grasp the world they illustrate as a whole. To many people it would be merely incomprehensible, but if you are that way inclined, it's an unforgettable book. I have "read" it many times, and now get it out to study when I am feeling afraid. I find Serafini's alternative world soothing when the real world is more than I can face.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What can I say about this book that hasn't already been said 100 times over. It is a piece of art in book form. I feel privileged to have it in my possession, and having put off spending the £800 on an original for so long, I was delighted to find this re-print. None of the original quality or feel has been lost, and having seen and handled a first-edition, I can tell you that if anything the quality has improved with the new addition, particularly with the slightly heavier gauge paper.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Amazing book and well worth getting a copy. The pictures and concepts are really interesting and as for the text - it looks great and seems consistent enough to actually be saying something - I just cant work out quite what it all means - much like the book itself.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this book really helpful for fusing my knowledge of genetics/proteomics with some of the older lore that I've come across over the years. The text was initially a little difficult to decipher, but once I'd managed to set a translation cast over it, the instructions became perfectly clear. I especially loved the 'ladybird-genesis' section, and I have discovered that strawberry jam can be used as a substitute for the required blood, although it does affect the colour and behaviour of the ladybirds somewhat. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the creation of absurdities or monsters!
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Format: Hardcover
I really really wanted to buy this book, but was disappointed to find that since 2006 the author has added a "preface" to the piece that (in my opinion) rather spoils the whole thing.

The preface, while still written in the surreal alien language, seems to be made up of what appear to be *early* illustrations from the author - the illustration style and composition are much less refined, and the surrealism has no restraint at all. This ruins the book's entire effect, because the reader is not eased-into the surreal world. I much preferred the earlier editions (pre-2006, pre-Rizzoli's publication), that simply start with an unreadable table of contents, and let you gradually see how crazy things get.

On a positive note - seeing the book in person confirmed that the printing is very good. Enjoyable medium-thick paper with a light wrinkly texture. Substantial hardcover with gold trim.

If Rizzoli would publish a version without the preface, or even just place the preface at the end of the book, I'd buy this book in a heartbeat. Right now, I'm considering buying it and taking a penknife to the offending first ~20 pages.
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Format: Hardcover
The illustrations are brilliant, weird and wonderful. The text - a code - is, as far as I can see, nonsense.
The same "words" are repeated much too often for it to make any sense, but the calligraphy is great! Even the paper
is special and at 96 dollars I consider it an absolute bargain. A book to have.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A flawless copy and amazing book. The paper quality is second to none.
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