Book Review: The Missing Ink, Philip Hensher

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“Writing by hand is something that has shaped and revealed our humanity.  When we can no longer be interested by our friend who writes a little heart over her i’s, and is no longer have the end of a biro to chew thoughtfully, what will we find to replace it?  The Missing Ink is an investigation into the warmest of technologies, and the place it had in our lives.”

Published by Macmillan, 11th October 2012

RRP £14.99 (Hardback)




Reviewer: Michelle, Storrington, West Sussex

Shamefully, I am of an age where I remember handwriting lessons.  I have no idea if schools continue this practice but Philip Hensher has made me hope they do.

Philip Hensher is a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Bath Spa so he obviously knows his stuff when it comes to handwriting, and it shows.  This surprisingly interesting book touches upon the history of handwriting, from pre Egyptian times to Copperplate and how different nationalities have changed their writing style over the ages.  His writing style is fast and easy to read, with amusing anecdotes dotted within the chapters, some of which are interview like in style.

I have to admit, I am one of those people who rarely handwrites anything beyond the odd list, birthday card or cheque – and I actually feel a little ashamed after reading this book.  As the author points out, you can know someone for years and not know what their handwriting is like – and therefore not know a part of them (for those who believe in Graphology anyway).

All in all I enjoyed the book – parts were a little long winded, (no one needs to know that much about Copperplate) but all in all definitely recommended.

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