Fackel Schimpfwörterbuch

Fackel Schimpfwörterbuch

Offices of Anne Burdick, Pasadena, California, 2008


The Fackel Schimpfwörterbuch is a dictionary of dirty words and insults. It is the second of three text-dictionaries whose corpus is a journal of media criticism called Die Fackel, published by Karl Kraus from 1899 to 1936. The designer collaborated with a team of linguists and programmers to develop visual strategies derived from the linguistic principles of the dictionary. Entries such as Artist or Historian are displayed in various situations that reveal how any word can become a pejorative term in the right context.

The dictionary spans three books, Alpha, Chrono and Explica, and a web-based digital edition of Die Fackel, part of the Austrian Academy Corpus. The books use URLs as part of their indexing and navigational systems. Alpha shows entries in their most reduced form, sequenced alphabetically within cultural and linguistic indices. Chrono’s reproductions allow the reader to see the entries as words within sentences, sentences within paragraphs and paragraphs within pages. Printed URLs send the reader online to view pages within articles, articles within volumes, and volumes within the entire Fackel digital edition. Explica visually demonstrates how the language of Die Fackel is dismantled and reassembled according to linguistic principles.

Juror Notes

Rethinks the dictionary format with a clear graphic vocabulary in a surprising way. 

Collections: 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2008
Repository: Denver Art Museum
Discipline: Book design
Format: Book