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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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Round Hand Character

Round Hand Character

(p.43) 2 Round Hand Character
Work in Hand

Aileen Douglas

Oxford University Press

England occupies a particular place in the history of handwriting because the round hand developed by eighteenth-century writing masters is the ancestor of modern handwriting. A clear, legible hand that could be executed with expedition, round hand was especially well suited to a commercial society. The copybooks of eighteenth-century writing masters associate the way in which letters are shaped on the page, or the round hand character, with a writer whose identity is specifically male and English. The insistent identification of italic (the second hand in common use) with women continued the gendering of handwriting’s conceptual space. To enter print culture, writing masters required their writing specimens to be engraved. The process of engraving was poorly understood. Relationships between masters and engravers were often tense, and the capacity of any engraved copy adequately to represent the original a subject of dispute.

Keywords:   hand, character, writing master, copybook, original, engraver, gender

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