May 2007 Archives

More Codex Seraphinianus

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Thanks to Jim Lippard I just discovered this newsgroup discussion concerning the Codex Seraphinianus. Its signal to noise ratio isn't so great due to people trying to acquire the book, but there are also some very bright people trying understand the numbering system as well as the text itself.

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The Codex Seraphinianus

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I am a complete sucker for books and manuscripts filled with undecyphered or undecypherable text. I have long been aware of several historical mysteries such as The Voynich Manuscript and Edgar Allen Poe's encrypted poems. However it turns out that people are still producing such works.

I recently discovered this article by
writer and post modern theorist Justin Taylor. It describes a book filled with false writing and beautiful illustrations that was first published in 1981. The book, entitled The Codex Seraphinianus, was authored by by the Italian architect and industrial designer Luigi Serafini who is still alive!

A Flickr photo set showing pages of the book can be found here.

Mr Taylor's analysis focuses on the value of the work in post modern theory, however linguists and cryptographers have worked on the codex. It appears that the page numbering system has been cracked. This gives a reason to hope that the text might also have meaning. However, as with all things it is important to remain skeptical and always consider the null hypothesis. The false writing may have no meaning. It could have been generated randomly or using a simple algorithm as seems to be the case for the The Voynich Manuscript.

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