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Handwriting in America A Cultural History cover
  • ISBN: 9780300074413
  • ISBN10: 0300074417

Handwriting in America A Cultural History

by Tamara Plakins Thornton

  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Yale Univ Pr
  • Publish date: 05/01/1998
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Description
In this engaging history, Tamara Plakins Thornton traces handwriting in America from colonial times to the present. Exploring such subjects as penmanship pedagogy, handwriting analysis, autograph collecting, handwriting experts, and calligraphy revivals, Thornton investigates the shifting functions and meanings of handwriting, showing, for example, how it came to be linked with individual identity and how in our times handwriting reflects a nostalgia for the past and a rejection of modernity.

"remarkable....Thornton writes what may be the first cultural history of penmanship. Dissecting its nuances, variations and implications, she teaches us what any penmanship master worth his blotter knew until recently; there is nothing trivial about the ways in which we shape our letters". -- Edward Rothstein, New York Times

"Thornton's book is not only informative but also compelling". -- David Nicholson, Washington Post Book World

"Filled with interesting and sometimes corrective information about penmanship and its prejudices... Thornton writes with a measured grace". -- Thomas Mallon, The New Yorker

"Thornton's book, a swift and arresting history of handwriting, shows that the growing ubiquity of print lent handwriting meaning beyond the words it recorded.... In reading this wonderful book, I became completely convinced that handwriting, as Thornton maintains, is not only 'a phenomenon that reflects changing conceptions of self' but is 'one of the places where the self happened". -- Katherine A. Powers, Boston Sunday Globe

"This elegant study again proves that, in the right hands, a narrow topic is an excellent window into broad issues of social structure, education and popularculture. Historian Thornton not only packs plenty of Americana into her history of handwriting but also relates trends in this country to European developments... Thornton's high-quality scholarship will satisfy exacting academic audiences, and her graceful prose will charm and entertain the general reader". -- Publishers Weekly

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Later printing, 1988. Large 8vo, paperback, xiv, 248 pp. Illustrated in b & w. Indexed. Near Fine, text is clean and unmarked. Light corner creasing to wraps.
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