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Oscar Wilde

The two very different handwriting samples below convey the personalities of the people who wrote them.

The passage on the left? was written by the great Irish playwright and novelist, Oscar Wilde (1854-1900).

Wilde’s literary achievements, in particular his plays, enjoy as much popularity today as they did over a century ago.Unfortunately, his brilliant career was cut short prematurely after he was tried for homosexuality, a crime in Victorian England, and forced to seek exile in France, where he died.

Wilde’s handwriting was aesthetically pleasing, with round letter shapes that are soft and sensual, as if drawn by a paintbrush. They indicate his soft and pliable character, ill-suited to confrontation.

In contrast, the second handwriting sample belongs to Wilde’s mother, the Irish poet Lady Jane Francesca Wilde (1820-1896). She wrote rapidly with big, angular letters slanted to the right that indicate an impulsive and aggressive temperament.

 The long t-bars point to her need to be in charge. In general, Lady Wilde’s script reveals the strong will, hot temper, and personality of an imposing and domineering person. Living with such a mother may have caused her son to develop a capacity for pleasing and charming others instead of challenging them.These contrasting examples of handwriting show two people with opposite personalities.

In Wilde’s case, his writing thrown some light on his behavior, his ability to charm others, including his audiences, and his sexual preferences.


Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), one of the greatest musicians of all times, was famous not only for his music but for impulsiveness and his unreasonable outbursts.

His adult life was spent in Vienna, where he lived alone, probably not only because of his deafness but because it was impossible to live with him for any length of time.

Beethoven had a reputation for frequently hiring and firing servants without rhyme or reason and for being arrogant, suspicious, and aggressive.Although he reportedly often insulted people, including the influential ones, his patrons gave him financial support because of their great love and respect for his music, enabling him to live a more or less independent life.Beethoven’s handwriting, whether in his letters or musical notes, was often completely wild.

His musical notes were full of heavy ink blots, and his crossing out was messy and violent.How was a man so lacking in self control able to compose such sublime music? The answer can be found in his creative process.

Beethoven often took more than ten years to compose the final version of his pieces, writing and rewriting the same musical phrases again and again. At the peak of his creative passion, he apparently used to leave a current composition unfinished and divert himself with a different piece of music. When he had calmed down, he returned to the previous composition with more objectivity.

The same traits can be seen in the letters he wrote and sometimes never sent. In contrast to people who lose contact with reality, Beethoven had the ability to be self-critical and seems to have known when to stop and cool down before progressing, at least if his musical genius was concerned.

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