Is Cursive Virtuous?

Irreal has a large corpus on the problems with cursive handwriting (see here, here, here, here, here, here, and here) but I haven’t written about it for a while. I was going through my queue of unpublished blog ideas and came across this New Yorker article on The Lost Virtue of Cursive by Mark Oppenheimer.

Oppenheimer begins with a nostalgia-soaked story of writing his daughter longhand letters while she was at camp and how it reminded him of getting such letters from his parents when he was a child at camp. He goes on to say how he always gets a warm feeling when he reads about efforts to keep cursive in the curriculum:

When I read that Washington state is now considering Senate Bill 6469, “an act related to requiring that cursive writing be taught in common schools,” I gave a little fist pump in the air.

But then he writes, “This is sheer nonsense, of course.” Of course it is. He admits that it’s just nostalgia and snobbery. It’s fine to bring up memories of those golden feelings one got as a child upon receiving a letter from Mom or Dad but that’s no reason to inflict cursive on children who neither want nor need it.

If this subject interests you, Anne Trubek, whom I’ve mentioned before, has a book out on The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting. I really enjoyed the articles she wrote on the subject and am looking forward to reading her book.

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