A new graphic novel is making waves in the publishing world. However, far from being the latest adventures of one of the myriad superheroes whose exploits dominate the medium, this one introduces a new breed of hero on the “epic search for truth”: Bertrand Russell. Logicomix was created by Apostolos Doxiadis (author of the best-selling Uncle Petros and Goldbach’s Conjecture) and Christos Papadimitriou (Professor in theoretical computer science at the University of California, Berkeley), and has already been a best-seller in its native Greece – where it was originally published last November – and in Holland. If recent reviews in the British Press, primarily FT and Independent are anything to go by, it looks set to repeat that success following its English language release.
Its complex narrative tells the story of Russell’s life, revolving around his quest to establish the logical foundations of mathematics. However, far from being a dry intellectual biography (albeit one with technicolour storyboards) the story focuses on the passions of its protagonist: his life and loves, and the perilous line between genius and madness (which, the authors note, seems to have been regularly transgressed by the great figures in the history of logic, many of whom we meet along the way).
Logicomix is now available in the UK from Bloomsbury Press. It is released in the US, by Bloomsbury USA, at the end of the month. For the official website, which contains a preview and links to recent reviews, go here.
Frege’s Judgement Stroke and the Conception of Logic as the Study of Inference Not Consequence
By Nicholas J. J. Smith, The University of Sydney
(Vol.4, June 2006)
Russell and the Unity of the Proposition
By Graham Stevens, University of Manchester
(Vol.3, April 2008)