I stumbled onto this picture/book/text at the blog of a band called ‘The Morning Benders’, with the lyrics of one of their songs. I like this picture, as I like all things dusty, old, yellowed for that matter – call it a fascination for moldy books. It’s the same fascination that kept me from depression when spending long days trolling archives, enduring asbestos-filled basements, dim TL lighting and droning climate controls, to unscramble the chronically illegible handwriting of lab notes. It is perhaps a not so obvious cliché that scientists’ laboratories are not quite unlike artists’ studios, if only in that they are both places of investigation, but so are the notes these spaces produce. Jotted down on anything in the near, and teeming with a similar sort of energy that is best illustrated by the rhythm their hand followed while writing — if at first duly disciplined and constrained by imaginary margins and line-spacing, they get quickly inflated, exaggerated and expressive by the end of every second page. Not sure what occult chiromancers might have to say about this, but this Philosophy of Handwriting (1879) discusses the handwriting of artists and scientists alike, from Emile Zola to Thomas Huxley or Charles Darwin – though the section on the latter is but a pagelong musing on the unintelligibility and unanalyzability of his writings even for the learned practitioner.

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