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Against the Written Word: Toward a Universal Illiteracy


If the Gutenberg Bible is the alpha, Against the Written Word is the omega

*While supplies last, books ordered through the website will include a bookplate SIGNED by Ian F. Svenonius!

This page is for the paperback edition of Against the Written Word. Order the limited-edition, hardcover here.

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$17.95 $13.46

What people are saying…

“What makes Ian Svenonius funny is a little different. He’s funny in his use of language in music, in the ridiculous extended conceits of so many of his songs; he’s funny in his prose style, a supercharged Marxist-Leninist jargon placed at the service of deliberate absurdity; he’s funny in his presentation as a self-made character, a preaching, yelping, evangelical amalgam of James Brown and the protagonists of Godard’s La Chinoise . . . Ian Svenonius’ career in comedy has involved various vehicles, but the silly-serious approach is consistent throughout.”
Tribune (UK)

“The material is quite varied but all of it is written with Svenonius’s intelligent and revolutionary prose . . . These essays are amongst the more palatable and intriguing Svenonius has written . . .”

“Wielding the satiric tone of a Gen-X Jonathan Swift or leftist Andy Kaufman . . . Svenonius is an engaging companion . . . and he lands some scathing blows, as when he links internet porn to contemporary Christianity by noting that both are ‘anti-intellectual, patriarchal, have an elitist or outsider self-image, and are aesthetically garish.'”
Publishers Weekly

“I’m not sure I’ve ever read anything that is so much about loving written language as Ian F. Svenonius’s Against the Written Word: Toward a Universal Illiteracy. The whole book, all 300 pages of it, is essentially infatuated with words . . . In Against the Written Word, however, Svenonius is after more than merely provocation; he has an argument to make. His book posits that the printing press and the Renaissance were, among other things, the start of everything going wrong for humanity. These chapters are serious and fascinating.”

Praise for Ian F. Svenonius:

For Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock ‘n’ Roll Group:
“Like its author, Supernatural Strategies is part tongue-in-cheek, part deadly serious—a satire of rock’s consumerist origins but also a thoughtful treatise on what it means to devote yourself to a collective . . . Drawing from the wisdom of rock ’n’ roll’s most famous ghosts, Svenonius’s advice ranges from hilarious to cryptic to surprisingly useful.”

“Svenonius hasn’t written a basic ‘How to Make It in the Music Business’ book. Rather, the writer, online talk show host and, most important, singer in a series of breathtaking rock ‘n’ roll bands (Nation of Ulysses, the Make-Up, Chain & the Gang), is drawing a line in the sand and doing so with what he hopes will finally define the undefinable.”
Los Angeles Times

For Censorship Now!!:
“While putting a copy of this book on your nightstand would be a sign of good taste, who cares about good taste? Are you willing to be seen reading a book titled Censorship Now!! in public? If so, your skin might burn with funny glances from squares, scolds, and looky-loos. But on the inside, you’ll feel your brain throbbing as it swells to accommodate some hilarious, absurd, and radical new strategies on how to live in our ridiculous world.”
Washington Post

“Svenonius’s new book is Censorship Now!!, and the title alone shows just how provocative the author can be. A collection of essays previously published by Vice, Jacobin, and others, it sets up numerous enemies—both real and straw—for Svenonius to knock down . . . It’s all couched in a style that’s part anarchist tirade, part postmodern critique, and part punk-rock snottiness—yet it’s addictively ridiculous.”

For The Psychic Soviet:
“In a sense the book is Mr. Svenonius’s love letter to the good old days of do-it-yourself punk concerts, though it’s cleverly disguised as a series of Marxian essays.”
New York Times

“Everything author-slash-punk-icon Ian Svenonius says is interesting, and this book of satirical essays—originally published in 2006, now back in print—proves it . . . You’ll laugh until you cry.” —Washington Post


This page is for the paperback edition of Against the Written Word. Order the limited-edition, hardcover here.

Against the Written Word is the most important, most revolutionary book produced since the advent of the printing press; the book that will liberate readers from reading, writers from writing, and booksellers from peddling their despicable wares. This book ushers in a new era of freedom from reading and all its attendant bedfellows such as Enlightenment thinking and the mass alienation wrought by the phonetic alphabet. Against the Written Word will be a tremendous best seller and simultaneously the last book that anyone will read.

With nineteen essays ripping, shredding, tearing apart all the bugaboos that haunt humanity nowadays, Against the Written Word is a must-read for any aspiring radical or would-be gnostic who has a penchant for words, thought, clothes, intoxicants, music, art, expression, etc. The work is presented in a range of writing: essays, screenplays, lectures, sci-fi stories, and manifestos, with topics that include “the rise of incorporated man,” “tourism as the neoliberal mode of military occupation,” a workshop on songwriting for the purpose of suggestion and mind control, and many more.

This handsome, illustrated book will correct the paucity of thought that characterizes the modern bookstore, and will practically sell itself. It will call out from the shelf to ingratiate itself to the unsuspecting everyday book browser, who will be hooked and then hungrily consume it. Infected with a wild-eyed evangelism, they will then proliferate it amongst their friends and acquaintances. These new readers will disseminate it, and so on; soon this slim, innocuous volume will define an epoch and steer thought from here on out.

The bookseller will be surprised and pleased to find that it will be the only book they need to stock. Against the Written Word will be dominant in a manner the market has not seen since the Bible tore up best-seller lists in the Middle Ages or Mao’s Little Red Book wowed the critics in Red China.

Book Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Published: 1/3/23
  • IBSN: 9781636140803
  • e-IBSN: 9781636140834


IAN F. SVENONIUS is the author of the underground best sellers Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock ‘n’ Roll Group,The Psychic Soviet, and Censorship Now!! He was also the host of VBS.tv’s Soft Focus, where he interviewed Mark E. Smith, Genesis P. Orridge, Chan Marshall, Ian MacKaye, and others. As a musician he has created more than twenty albums and countless singles in various rock and roll combos (Escape-ism, Chain & the Gang, The Make-Up, The Nation of Ulysses, etc.). He lives in Los Angeles, CA. Against the Written Word is his latest work.

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