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Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth by…

Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth (2009)

by Apostolos Doxiadis, Annie Di Donna (Colour), Alecos Papadatos (Character design and drawings), Christos H. Papadimitriou (Author)

Other authors: Anne Bardy (Visual research and lettering), Dimitris Karatzaferis (Inking), Thodoris Paraskevas (Inking)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,745876,199 (3.89)116
  1. 60
    Bertrand Russell : the spirit of solitude, 1872-1921 by Ray Monk (sharder)
    sharder: Where Logicomix gives the 'cartoon'-version (and does it very well!) of Bertrand Russells life, Ray Monks biography of Russell is the classical biography. As with his biography of Wittgenstein it is both reliable, "complete" and a good read. (The biography is in 2 vols., this is the first).… (more)
  2. 60
    Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter (EerierIdyllMeme)
    EerierIdyllMeme: An obvious suggestion (surprised it's not here already). Both are creative and fictional riffing off of formal logic and incompleteness.
  3. 30
    Gödel’s Proof by Ernest Nagel (paradoxosalpha)
    paradoxosalpha: A brief explanation of Gödel’s incompleteness theorem for the lay reader, recapitulating some of the history of logic included in Logicomix.
  4. 20
    Feynman by Jim Ottaviani (yokai)
    yokai: Un portrait d'un autre grand scientifique en BD beaucoup plus réussi que celui de Russel.
  5. 21
    The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Graphic novels with historical subject-matter straddling the line between fiction and non-fiction and containing the parallel story of their own creation.
  6. 10
    The Universal Computer: The Road from Leibniz to Turing by Martin Davis (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Another story about Logic and the contribution of Leibniz, Cantor, Frege etc.
  7. 10
    Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel by Rebecca Goldstein (michaeljohn)
  8. 00
    Pythagorean Crimes by Tefcros Michaelides (GIEL)
  9. 00
    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (MarkYoung)
  10. 00
    The System of the World by Neal Stephenson (MarkYoung)
  11. 00
    Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli (Serviette)
    Serviette: Going deep in the world of ideas

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» See also 116 mentions

English (70)  French (6)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (2)  Catalan (2)  German (1)  Danish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (86)
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
A decent, if shaky, biography of Bertrand Russell, with brief explanations of the chief problems of logic and philosophy he took on. For someone who's already read about this, it's pretty shallow and suffers from the "Best Of" disease, but I also don't see it making a huge impact on readers new to Russell, Cantor, Wittgenstein, and Goedel. It's all a bit wishy-washy, with a distracting self-referential streak, with authors arguing about the book's flaws themselves; I'm sure it seemed charming, but it comes across as confusing more than anything else. The illustration style is great, with some unconvincing color work. ( )
  mrgan | Oct 30, 2017 |
I know more about mathematical theory that I did before, but it still isn't much.
  ritaer | Jul 18, 2017 |
‘Organic life, we are told, has developed gradually from the protozoan to the philosopher, and this development, we are assured, is indubitably an advance. Unfortunately it is the philosopher, not the protozoan, who gives us this assurance.’
—Bertrand Russell

‘Logic! Good gracious! What rubbish! How can I tell what I think till I see what I say?’
—EM Forster

Logicomix has the admirable idea of presenting us, in comic form, with the story of the search for the logical underpinnings of mathematics in the early twentieth century, told mostly through the life of Bertrand Russell.

Usually, when this story comes up at all, it seems to be told by way of a prelude to the birth of computing (in, for instance, Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, which rushes past Russell to get to Turing), so it was nice here to see it placed front and centre. And on the whole, the details of these often quite abstruse theoretical investigations are very well explained here, embedded as they are in the context of the main players' personal lives and professional rivalries.

I really love Bertrand Russell for the way that his professional logicalism did not impede his towering moral authority – he embodied a pacifistic, anti-authoritarian activism that was awakened during the First World War and that lasted until the end of his life, when he was still being dragged away from protests by police in his eighties. This moral sensibility takes a backseat to the quest for logic in the book, though it's definitely there – a framing story concerns Russell's feelings about pacifism in the 1939 war, and within the main story the authors are careful to show the effects of the first war on all the major characters.

I have to admit, with my ideal image of Russell in mind, it was painful for me to read about the way he behaved towards his first wife and his children, about which I knew nothing before I read this. The authors – as they themselves explain – are very concerned to make sure that this is a story about these mathematicians' and philosophers' private lives as well as their professional investigations. Though I have to admit, the drama in the forbidden relationships and family secrets never seemed quite as engaging to me as the actual nerdy stuff about logic.

I had lingering doubts as I read this of whether it was really suited to the comics form: somehow, it never really felt like it was playing to the strengths of the medium. I was also not convinced by the choice to include several metanarrational interludes in which the authors and illustrators talk about how best to tell the story; this seemed, on the whole, more of a distraction than anything else, although a final section set during a present-day production of the Oresteia is a tour-de-force.

There's lots to get out of this book and I'd definitely recommend it, but in the end it's one of those pieces that I admired more for its concept than its execution. Illogical perhaps – but that, as the book demonstrates, is to be expected. ( )
1 vote Widsith | Jun 19, 2017 |
This book was okay. It's a comic that straddles historical fiction and biography, providing the life story of Bertrand Russell as well as some background in developments of logic in the early twentieth century. It's occasionally interrupted by pages where the creators of the comic discuss creating the comic. These moments I found twee and not very insightful. The main story is fine, though not very deep, and I was irritated at the number of things the creators outright made up yet still ascribe character significance to-- the whole book is driven by a dichotomy between madness and logic in Russell's life that has no basis in reality.
1 vote Stevil2001 | Feb 12, 2017 |
Great book. One of my favourites so far. ( )
  JatinNagpal | Nov 30, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
LJ Best Graphic Novels 2009: "This biography of the troubled and driven Bertrand Russell packs in a surprisingly entertaining introduction to academia’s Big Ideas of Truth and Meaning by focusing on the thinkers and their passions. Fascinating and charming, with deft color art"
Logicomix grippingly recounts the turmoil of the 20th-century logical world.
All of this is presented with real graphic verve. (Even though I’m a text guy, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the witty drawings.)

» Add other authors (62 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Doxiadis, ApostolosAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Donna, Annie DiColourmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Papadatos, AlecosCharacter design and drawingsmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Papadimitriou, Christos H.Authormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Bardy, AnneVisual research and letteringsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Karatzaferis, DimitrisInkingsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Paraskevas, ThodorisInkingsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Russo, ScottCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This innovative, dramatic graphic novel recounts the spiritual odyssey of philosopher Bertrand Russell. In his agonized search for absolute truth, Russell crosses paths with legendary thinkers and finds a passionate student in the great Ludwig Wittgenstein.… (more)

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