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Work in HandScript, Print, and Writing, 1690-1840$
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Aileen Douglas

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198789185

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198789185.001.0001

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Seeing Script in Print

Seeing Script in Print

(p.21) 1 Seeing Script in Print
Work in Hand

Aileen Douglas

Oxford University Press

This chapter surveys representations of script in print, in both letterpress and engraving, from the late seventeenth to the early nineteenth centuries. It discusses the literary representation of script in works by Jonathan Swift, Samuel Richardson, and Jane Austen. During this period understandings of script as the product of discipline were challenged by ideas of the autograph that posited a connection between a writer’s hand and his or her moral character. Especially influential here was the work of Swiss physiognomist Johann Kaspar Lavater. In the late decades of the eighteenth century engraved autographs began to appear, first in antiquarian works, subsequently in polite periodicals and biographies, and, finally, in dedicated volumes such as John Gough Nichols’s Autographs of Royal, Noble, Learned, and Remarkable Personages (1829).The labouring classes were implicitly excluded from ideas of the autograph, and their script apprehended though a separate discourse concerned with the provision of labour.

Keywords:   script, print, autograph, labour, class, Johann Kaspar Lavater, John Gough Nichols

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