Sackner Archive

The Fall of the Tower of Babel

Three images show detail of this piece. Black letters in a variety of languages make up the Tower of Babel. Toward the top, letters are flying off as the tower begins to fall apart. The piece is on white paper.
A long vertical rectangular piece, The Tower of Babel is comprised of black typewritten letters on white paper. The black letters of varying sizes create a tall representation of the tower of Babel.

John Furnival. The Fall of the Tower of Babel. 1995 ed. Special Collections, University of Iowa Libraries.

John Furnival’s The Fall of the Tower of Babel is one of the early classics of concrete poetry and exists in many versions. It depicts the Biblical story of the splintering of the World’s languages as a vision of nuclear apocalypse.

– Timothy Shipe, Curator, International Dada Archive

Detail of black lettering on white paper. It depicts the tower of Babel falling apart, with many single disrupted letters flying into the air at the top of the tower.

Detail. John Furnival. The Fall of the Tower of Babel. 1995 ed. Special Collections, University of Iowa Libraries.

 

Closeup of black typed text on white paper making up the base of the Tower of Babel. A variety of languages are represented.

Detail. John Furnival. The Fall of the Tower of Babel. 1995 ed. Special Collections, University of Iowa Libraries.