More Curious Cursive

There is so much misunderstanding about “cursive” writing that I am going to risk redundancy..

The original meaning of the word is flowing as a river flows, the course of the river, flowing freely. Before books were printed, they were handwritten in the formal hand of the day. Letters were carefully and precisely formed. But then those who were literate speeded up that writing and it became cursive. Lots of different cursives!

Now most think of cursive as something with letters that are designed to join up every letter in a word. The method originates with copperplate writing, and was simplified by Palmer and Zaner-Bloser in the late 19th century. Some call it conventional cursive.

Italic cursive is the method I advocate, and is the base for Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting. It developed in the Renaissance, then declined in use. However, It seems to have survived among Spaniards, because it travelled to the New World. It was also popular with Queen Elizabeth I of England and other royals. In the late 19th century Edward Johnston revived interest in handwriting in England. Then Alfred Fairbank took up the cause with italic, and it spread to the northwest United States.

Although ancient in origin, italic seems to be the most practical and efficient way to achieve legible handwriting at maximum speed in today’s world.

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