By Catherine Lee

I was reading the news one day when I came across an article on Ernest Hemingway’s handwriting. Well, the article was actually on something else, possibly on Hemingway’s previously unseen letters, which revealed his grief over the death of his cat. But I would not know, because I was too mesmerized by the loveliness of Hemingway’s handwriting to notice anything else.

Not the letter about his cat.

Hemingway’s handwriting, aside from making me feel ashamed about the shabby state of my own handwriting (I can’t remember the last time I wrote something by hand), got me interested in looking at some cool manuscripts. I will not only be looking at who has the best handwriting, but also what different kinds of manuscripts there are. This brings to me an odd sense of nostalgia – I wish someone would send me a handwritten letter!

Emily Dickinson’s manuscripts:

Letter from Emily Dickinson to author Helen Hunt Jackson

Emily Dickinson left a lot of manuscripts upon her death: about 2,500 poems and 1,000 letters. Scholars are divided on the importance of these manuscripts. Some believe that they were the only way that Dickinson was meant to be read. Others don’t give them as much thought. In any case, you can see that she was a very, uh, spacious writer. To be honest, I can barely tell apart the letters. But her writing style, as you can see, is part of what makes Dickinson so unique and fascinating.

William Blake’s illuminated manuscripts:

William Blake’s illuminated manuscripts are simply breathtaking. They are evidence of his utter brilliance, his superior genius. And I am sure that even though I never met him and I never will, he was probably a super sweet guy because someone who can put this much effort into a poem about a lamb could not not be sweet!

Oh, lamb!

Lewis Carroll’s original manuscripts of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:

Awesome adventures come with awesome drawings. You can also appreciate Carroll’s neat penmanship in these manuscripts. This is making me want to write by hand again!

There are many more, but it would take me forever. Start looking for manuscripts of your favorite authors! Their handwriting tells you some things that you thought you would never know – did he like to connect his letters? How did she write her ‘a’? For more random posts on literature, click here.