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The Missing Ink: The Lost Art of Handwriting…
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The Missing Ink: The Lost Art of Handwriting

by Philip Hensher

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
I love handwriting so I enjoyed this book well enough but really it is a bit of a disorganized ramble. I've read a few books on the history of handwriting but still I did learn a few things. I guess this is just a stylistic thing. This book is like Hensher just wandering around in the fields and forests of handwriting. It's a kind of creative non-fiction. It's not that there is too much of Hensher here. There is a bit of his personal history here but it doesn't get in the way. It's just that the book is his own peculiar bouncing around in the territory.

Ach. If you are in London and want an italic nib fountain pen... there is Fortnam & Mason near Picadilly Circus. Across the street more or less is a kind of closed in alley with a bunch of little shops. There is a glorious tiny pen shop in there. Mostly vintage as I recall but they must have new pens too.

Here is my strange tale of looking for a piston-fill italic pen. I happened to be passing through Carmel, California, which is one of the most surreal places on the planet. Bittner Pens is there. Whew. If you want to see some pens, go there! Well they had this Omas Paragon with an italic nib, black resin body with rhodium hardware. Some talk about it being like a factory experiment or something, not in regular production. Remains the pen that cost me the most $$$ in my collection.

I like the italic hand and use it with two-stroke o and two-stroke e and I do not find it laborious or awkward or any of that. Hensher and I do not see eye to eye on these questions. He is welcome to his opinions but the reader should be aware that this book is filled with Hensher's personal opinions which are not baseless or uninformed but still they can be idiosyncratic or misleading. I like italic! This book is all England oriented too. OK there is some nice talk about European styles like the German Sutterlin. But no talk of the American Lloyd Reynolds! Seriously, Hensher has something against italic! It's probably some English class prejudice thing, what public school did you go to, etc.

Yeah I was in an English boarding school in the mid 1960s when I was a wee lad and we were required to use fountain pens and I had an Osmiroid 60 with an italic nib. Like most of the kids there. Maybe somebody had a Parker but it would have been kept out of sight! ( )
1 vote kukulaj | Aug 3, 2017 |
An analysis of where handwriting has come from and where it is going today.
It would be a shame for the art of handwriting to disappear. It made me resolve to do more hand writing. ( )
  GeoffSC | May 31, 2015 |
Given the title of this book you would think it would be about the art of handwriting. This is actually a more anecdotal and introspective story of penmanship through the ages. The author's relationship to handwriting and interviews with anonymous random people seem to be the focus of this book. If you are looking for a book about penmanship and the art of writing this is probably not the best book to read. ( )
  elizabeth.b.bevins | Nov 4, 2014 |
Funny. ( )
  eenerd | Jul 30, 2014 |
Given the title of this book you would think it would be about the art of handwriting. This is actually a more anecdotal and introspective story of penmanship through the ages. The author's relationship to handwriting and interviews with anonymous random people seem to be the focus of this book. If you are looking for a book about penmanship and the art of writing this is probably not the best book to read. ( )
  ElizabethBevins | May 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Bemoaning the decline of the written hand smacks of fogyism, but the British novelist Philip Hensher, who is also a columnist for The Independent and an arts critic for The Spectator, enlivens his musings about penmanship’s demise with sharp insights and wry wit. In “The Missing Ink,” he argues that handwriting fills a human need: “It involves us in a relationship with the written word which is sensuous, immediate and individual. It opens our personality out to the world, and gives us a means of reading other people.”
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0865478937, Hardcover)

When Philip Hensher realized that he didn’t know what a close friend’s handwriting looked like (“bold or crabbed, sloping or upright, italic or rounded, elegant or slapdash”), he felt that something essential was missing from their friendship. It dawned on him that having abandoned pen and paper for keyboards, we have lost one of the ways by which we come to recognize and know another person. People have written by hand for thousands of years— how, Hensher wondered, have they learned this skill, and what part has it played in their lives?

The Missing Ink tells the story of this endangered art. Hensher introduces us to the nineteenth-century handwriting evangelists who traveled across America to convert the masses to the moral worth of copperplate script; he examines the role handwriting plays in the novels of Charles Dickens; he investigates the claims made by the practitioners of graphology that penmanship can reveal personality.

But this is also a celebration of the physical act of writing: the treasured fountain pens, chewable ballpoints, and personal embellishments that we stand to lose. Hensher pays tribute to the warmth and personality of the handwritten love note, postcards sent home, and daily diary entries. With the teaching of handwriting now required in only five states and many expert typists barely able to hold a pen, the future of handwriting is in jeopardy. Or is it? Hugely entertaining, witty, and thought-provoking, The Missing Ink will inspire readers to pick up a pen and write.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:58 -0400)

When Philip Hensher realized that he didn't know what one of his closest friend's handwriting looked like, he felt that something essential was missing from their friendship. It dawned on him that, having abandoned fountain pens for keyboards, we have lost one of the ways by which we come to recognize and know another person. The Missing Ink tells the story of this endangered art. Hensher reflects on what handwriting can tell us about personality and personal history: are your own letters neat and controlled or messy and inconsistent? Did you shape your penmanship in worshipful imitation of a popular girl at school, or do you still use the cursive you were initiated into in the second grade? Hensher guides us through Arabic calligraphy and the story of the nineteenth-century handwriting evangelists who traveled across America to convert the masses to the moral worth of copperplate; he pays tribute to the warmth and personality of a handwritten note. With the teaching of handwriting now required in only five states, and many expert typists barely able to hold a pen, the future of handwriting is in jeopardy. Or is it?… (more)

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