The Shelleys’ Handwriting

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By annamercer90

I made this document to compare the Shelleys’ handwriting (click for download), which shows (on the left) a sonnet by PBS in the hand of MWS, and (on the right) lines from ‘Mont Blanc’ in the hand of PBS. Both are taken from the Scrope Davies Notebook, which is particularly topical because it was a notebook used by both Shelleys exactly 200 years ago in 1816 during their European travels. It is held in the British Library, but you can also look at the excellent facsimile edition in the Manuscripts of the Younger Romantics:

Manuscripts of the Younger Romantics: Percy Bysshe Shelley Vol VIII ed. by Donald H. Reiman and Michael O’Neill (London: Garland, 1997).

I will be speaking about this notebook (and others) at the Summer of 1816 conference in Sheffield later this month.

I hope – if you like manuscripts as much as I do – you find the handwriting comparison document interesting, as it shows the difference in the Shelleys’ hands in the same year (their handwriting did change over time). Such a tool is useful when attempting to understand other manuscripts in which both of the Shelleys’ hands appear, including Frankenstein.

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