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Missing Ink (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – Ungekürzte Ausgabe, 11. Oktober 2012


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'Part social history, part memoir ... funny and fascinating' Sunday Times Culture 'The wisest and wittiest argument imaginable for the preservation of handwriting. I have learnt so much, and by it have been so happily entertained, that I am compelled to recommend it to everyone' Diana Athill 'Like a charming dinner guest, [Hensher] brims with fun facts, sharp insights and wry wit' Abigail Meisel, New York Times Book Review 'Delightful ... [Hensher] laments the decline of handwriting, not in a precious way, not because he wishes everyone were a quill-wielding aesthete, but because it's a human activity that could be forgotten, or ignored, or done badly, or done well, and why not do it well? I'm with him all the way' Philip Pullman 'This witty, heartfelt book conveys superbly the pleasures of writing by hand and the role it still has to play in our lives' Sunday Times 'Conveys superbly the pleasures of writing by hand and the role it still has to play in our lives' Ian Critchley, Sunday Times 'Its advocacy of one of the most humane and pleasurable forms of self-expression is pretty much irresistible' Guardian 'A manifesto for the virtues of penmanship ... written with passion and thoughtfulness' Philip Womack, Telegraph 'As fewer people write by hand, some of us who do venture to squeak a thin call of alarm, like mice behind the frescoes during the last days of Pompeii. Philip Hensher voices dismay more manfully in this eloquent account of what has been and will be lost by the ending of this ancient habit' Eric Christiansen, Spectator -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch .

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Philip Hensher was born in 1965 in South London, where he still lives. His nine books include Kitchen Venom, which won the Somerset Maugham Award, The Northern Clemency, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, King of the Badgers, and, in April 2012, Scenes from Early Life. He is a regular contributor to the Independent, the Mail on Sunday, and the Spectator.

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15 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Establishing the Necessity 14. Januar 2013
Von D_shrink - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
The book begins as a memoir on personal communication through handwriting and the various instruments used for doing it, and how it and they have morphed into our modern age.

The author's essential point is that the current state of handwriting is a far cry from what it once was. He then goes into an explanation of some of the earliest forms of writing instruments from the quill, to the fountain pen, the cartridge or refillable pen, and the advent of the roller-ball pen popularized by BIC, and let us not forget the pencil, but that does not really enter into formalized writing except as device with which to practice.

The book gets a little slow in the second half but the author has a certain dry wit and panache in explaining a subject you can tell he feels is important.

In talking about printing styles the author gives a lengthy lecture on Copperplate and notes that it was employed more for aesthetics than as a truly functional writing style. The idea was that to be considered fluid in this style of writing implied an uplift of one's moral character; i.e. a lot of practice. :) Then he talks at length about Spencerian script which he feels lead to America's Golden Age of Penmanship which he defines as the years 1850-1925. He felt that the real aim of the writing styles of the past was to restrain society by making them think there was only one of writing and if they did it any other way, they were simply doing it wrong. Of course as we learn from this work and from an earlier work called Script and Scribble Script and Scribble: The Rise and Fall of Handwriting, which the author mentions in several places and which I can also heartily recommend. Most of the people who still write in longhand script today learned using the method employed by A.N. Palmer, at least in America.

The author blends in a lot of interesting facts throughout as Edward Johnson developed the primary San Serif typeface most commonly used today, and Maria Montessori taught kids to recognize the shape of various letters by cutting them out of sandpaper and letting the kids run their fingers over them repeatedly to stimulate the brain to recognize each shape.

The author even discusses the old style German Sutterlin script called Fraktur by the Germans and how it was much easier to write because you didn't have to pick up your hand for breaks between the letters, which, of course, means it was much harder to read, as I can remember from my earliest college classes requiring it. Another factoid blended in was how a young William Henry Perkins 18yo in 1856 discovered the first aniline dye while trying to synthesize quinine. It was a purplish color he named MAUVEINE, which has morphed into the more modern word MAUVE to describe a similar shade of purple. And lastly but not leastly, we learn that on the old Roman Catholic calendars, religious holy days were designated in Red Ink to indicate their importance from which our current expression a RED LETTER DAY is derived.

A worthwhile book for those seriously interested in the subject of handwriting and its history.
10 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
a lost art? 20. Februar 2013
Von Acorn - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Every age sees some technology disappear, either to become irrelevant or to be replaced by another. In the past century we have seen an extraordinary shift in the way we write and communicate with each other. Handwriting, once the most common form of written communication, is now a minority activity. Philip Hensher realises that he has known a friend for well over a decade but has no idea what his friend's handwriting looks like. Everyone can identify with that experience, but probably few of us have given it a second thought.

At school I first learnt to print, though even then we pupils knew it was not a `grown up' way to write and we loved to experiment with joining the letters. We eventually received lessons in cursive writing - or `running writing' as we called it - and were taught a form of copperplate. As I moved into teenage I tried to personalise my writing, as did most of my friends, and some of the modifications were done in order to speed up my writing, essential for taking notes in class. Today my script is looped and retains traces of copperplate, but some ascenders have been clipped and several decorative capitals have been simplified in order to speed things along. The most dramatic change has resulted from my learning to touch type over twenty years ago, causing me to largely abandon handwriting other than to take field notes or write cards for special occasions. Paucity of practice has meant my handwriting is now chaotic and less fluid, and I often have to type up written notes within a day or many of the words become illegible to me. My handwriting is also very small, the product of an obsessive teacher who made us all write two lines of script into each printed line in our exercise books in order to save paper. When I first submitted an essay at university the tutor appended a note in return asking that I supply a magnifying glass and aspirin with my next assignment.

Hensher's interesting if sometimes wandering tale of handwriting contains a number of reminiscences like the above and most readers will recall their own experiences of learning to write. The book covers the changes that took place in handwriting styles from the nineteenth century onwards and the attempts to introduce standard styles in a number of countries. Good handwriting was for a long time associated with education and refinement, and today in many countries that is still true. It is both a discipline and a motor skill and can therefore be seen as an art form.

It might come as a surprise that before the twentieth century children were taught cursive script without learning to print first. In the early 1900s there were advocates for printing to replace cursive script completely, though they made little headway. Cursive script was much faster than printing, as typing is now much faster than handwriting, and we live in an industrial culture that adores speed.

Hensher discusses handwriting in the works of Dickens and Proust (neither had a very attractive hand) and the script of Adolf Hitler, touching on the scandal of the Hitler diaries that raised questions about how we authenticate handwriting.

The history of both ink and pens is dealt with in the later chapters, and reading them brought to mind my embarrassing experiences with ink - I once had a schoolbook with a large blot that bled through a dozen or so pages. Hensher mentions the role of the ink monitor in school. I did this in primary classes and in reading about it - something I had almost forgotten - I remembered the odd smell of the ink we used. Quills and metal nibs co-existed for a long time and ink reservoirs were designed for quills well before the advent of metal fountain pens.

Hensher discusses graphology and its Janus-faced character. On the one hand it is used in police investigations and courts to identify someone by comparison with that person's known script, while on the other hand it has been used to try and discern people's character. The latter face of graphology is utter rubbish, but like other pseudo-sciences it still holds strong sway in the minds of many. Hensher is open about his prejudices in relation to handwriting, but two of them - people who write in green ink are psychotic, and people who dot an `i' with a circle or heart are morons - looked more like scientific facts to me.

I was not allowed to use a ballpoint pen until high school, but I was overjoyed when that happy day came to pass - no more blots on my landscape. Hensher recounts the invention and marketing of ballpoint pens and their rise to dominance in the second half of the twentieth century. It is a remarkable story, though a nightmare in terms of the environment. Pencils and fountain pens are far more eco-friendly.

In the final chapter, Hensher cites a longitudinal study of 700 children that shows those with good handwriting skills also fared better in reading, composition and memory recall. He argues that we need to resurrect handwriting, not as a standard mode of communication (keyboards and texting have put paid to that), but rather as an artistic pursuit that gives pleasure and a sense of accomplishment. It is an appealing argument.

This book tells a good story and will make you reflect on the astounding changes that have taken place in the way we write. The narrative could have been more clearly structured. There are eight chapters titled `Witness' which are verbatim accounts by people of various ages telling of their handwriting experiences. These do not fit well into the narrative and lack sufficient context to add to the book's reasoning. Still, there is much here to enjoy and the re-framing of handwriting as a pleasurable pastime is a nice finishing flourish.
13 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
..should be a schoolbook in all Europe! 10. Januar 2013
Von Lars Wallentin - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
I am a letterwriter myself and reading this essential book I am even more
convinced that if we only type on a computer..we will become more
stupid than we are...the hand needs to work in all directions!
8 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Three Quills Only 15. August 2013
Von VerbRiver - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
The Missing Ink is like reading a long New Yorker article. You feel like you deserve credit for the effort, but do not feel improved by it.

At the core of the book is a single fact capsule: Mr. Hensher likes handwriting. People do much less of it than they used to. He regrets that.

Most everything else is bubble wrap.

The author traces a meandering survey of notable handwriting teachers and their techniques. He offers plentiful doses of autobiography while wobbling along between sarcasm and slices of information. And he spends a large fraction of the book fixated on graphology, the practice of assessing a personality by the way a person forms letters of the alphabet. After what feels like an internal struggle, he eventually indicts graphology as "the occupation of idiots." Since it occupies so much of his interest, one wonders why it took him a full book to reach a verdict.

Perhaps I expected too much or something different. Ultimately, The Missing Ink is book-length lament. The best part is the last chapter he calls "What Is to Be Done?" and for several pages he lists practical measures to help handwriting survive. That would have been enough. The rest of the book is too much about much other.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Writing is useful for design, because you can evoke a problem so quickly 20. August 2013
Von Alessandro Segalini - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Entertaining, thank you Mr Hensher.
I'm surprised that the monumental book "The Stroke: Theory of Writing" by Gerrit Noordzij is not cited anywhere, neither is Robert Bringhurst's "What Is Reading For".
Here is a passage from Noordzij's I'd like to share: Any writing of any civilization begins with the stroke, and the stroke is made with the tool, and if you have a stiff tool, then the shape of the tool dominates the character of your writing, and with a soft tool the impulse of your hand dominates the writing.
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