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The Boston Globe

Arts

Book Review

‘The Missing Ink’ by Philip Hensher

“The book had better be written while it still makes some sense,” Philip Hensher notes in the introduction to his history and reflections about handwriting. Of course: What with e-mail and texting, and typing from long before that, the subject and its practice are in radical decline.

Hensher’s book ranges widely over its subject, touching on the development of handwriting, the varying fashions and methods of teaching it, its use as identification, its reputed relationship to individual and even national character, attempts to bend it to derive psychological conclusions, the history of pens and ink, and much else.

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