The Handwriting of the Renaissance

The Handwriting of the Renaissance

The Handwriting of the Renaissance

The Handwriting of the Renaissance

Excerpt

This book might never have come into existence had it not been for a controversy of considerable proportions over Shakspere's handwriting. The book indeed owes something to the very scholars with whom its author has been most at odds, for it was this group of English scholars who first called our attention to the necessity of a close knowledge of Elizabethan handwriting and printing for the sound editing of Shaksperian and other Elizabethan texts. To a cautious American like myself, it seemed that their enthusiasm led them a little too fast and far in applying their new-found knowledge to the solution of Shaksperian problems, and I was among the first to welcome Dr. Tannenbaum's penetrating and sometimes devastating criticism. But he would, I know, join with me in expressing appreciation of the brilliant initiative which has already opened the way to significant developments in textual study.

The need of a compact and well illustrated manual on Elizabethan handwriting has become obvious to all literary students, and they will thank Dr. Tannenbaum for the enormous labor and pains which he has given to their service. I believe that the book should also prove useful to students in other fields of the Renaissance and especially to all concerned with documents of that period.

I may venture to add a personal word in admiration of the author's extraordinary energy and versatility. He is a practicing physician, specializing in mental disorders, and yet for many years he has also been a Shaksperian student and collector and a highly qualified expert in handwriting. When certain theories were advanced as to Shakspere's handwriting, Dr. Tannenbaum naturally joined eagerly in a research which gave free play for both of his avocations. He was able to make most important contributions to the study of Elizabethan manuscripts because he was the first to apply to them the technique of modern experts in handwriting. No doubt such application . . .

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