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The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting - Anne Trubek - <span class="date-display-single">10/23/2016 - 12:00pm</span>

The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting

10/23/2016 - 12:00pm

Central Library - Community Room 301

Today, our grocery and to-do lists live on our smart phones, and it’s rare that we pick up a pen except to sign a check. Signatures—far from John Hancock’s elegant model—have become mere scribble. Fewer and fewer schoolchildren are being taught how to write in cursive. In The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting, Anne Trubek argues that the decline and even elimination of handwriting from daily life does not signal a decline in civilization, but rather the next stage in the evolution of communication.
 
Trubek, who has written on the subject for The Atlantic and The New York Times, knows very well how heated the debate between preserving and nixing handwriting technique can be, from the outraged responses her essays on the death of handwriting have generated. Expanding on these essays with The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting, Trubek traces the long and significant impact handwriting has had on culture and humanity. From the first recorded handwriting on the clay tablets of the Sumerians some four thousand years ago and the invention of the alphabet as we know it, to the rising value of handwritten manuscripts today, each innovation over the millennia has threatened existing standards and customs. In ancient Athens, Socrates and his followers decried the very use of handwriting, claiming memory would be destroyed, while Gutenberg’s printing press ultimately overturned the livelihood of the monks who created books in the pre-printing era. And yet new methods of writing and communication have always appeared.
 
Establishing a unique link between our deep past and emerging future, Trubek offers a colorful lens through which to view our shared social experience.

Anne Trubek

About Presenter Anne Trubek

 

Anne Trubek is the editor in chief of Belt magazine and publisher of Belt Publishing. She has published articles in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Wired, and many other publications. She is the author of Skeptic’s Guide to Writers’ Houses and lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

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The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting


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