The Work of Handwriting in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

EdisonCropWhile doing research at the British Library last fall, I came across a thoroughly fascinating pamphlet advertising Edison’s Electric Pen, known more properly as “The Edison Electric Pen and Duplicating Press, for the Rapid, Accurate, and Economical Production of all kinds of Writings, Drawings &c.” Continue reading “The Work of Handwriting in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”


Character-Building: Disraeli and the “Physiognomy of Writing”

Emily’s fascinating post on Sublime Penmanship works hand in glove with research I’ve been conducting on graphology in Victorian Britain, as part of a chapter on the role of handwriting in R. L. Stevenson’s Jekyll & Hyde. The first book-length study of handwriting analysis was published in 1622 by Camillo Baldi, an Italian doctor of medicine and philosophy. However, the most broadly read text within England upon the subject was most likely the Swiss pastor Johann Kaspar Lavater’s Physiognomy. (Published in German in 1775, this study had gone through fifty-five editions by 1810, at least twenty of which were available in England.) Continue reading “Character-Building: Disraeli and the “Physiognomy of Writing””