Several years ago I was invited by the Jane Austen Centre to analyse Jane’s handwriting to try and give a further insight to the author. Genealogists and family historians too might consider graphology as a way of finding out what their ancestors were like.
As a means of personality assessment and character evaluation, graphology is accepted throughout Europe, where it can be studied as part of psychology degree courses, in Israel, USA and South America. Many ‘blue chip’ companies recognise its worth and use it for recruiting and selecting staff. However, here in Britain graphology is often viewed with suspicion, so all credit to the Jane Austen Centre, Bath for taking the initiative and inviting me to analyse her writing.
The Jane Austen Centre supplied me with several photocopies of Jane’s her handwriting and with the relevant permissions some of these were reproduced in the article mentioned above to illustrate my analysis. (Of course, it was impossible to have access to original documents and because copies can be corrupted this had to be taken into consideration). These samples included her ‘History of England’, written aged 15, and letters to Cassandra later in her life, which enabled me to consider how she developed over the years.
As a prolific letter writer Jane Austen obviously took an interest in handwriting, for in Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 10, she wrote:
“That will not do for a compliment to Darcy, Caroline,” cried her brother – “because he does not write with ease. He studies too much for words of four syllables – Do not you, Darcy?” “My style of writing is very different from yours.” “Oh!” cried Miss Bingley, “Charles writes in the most careless way imaginable. He leaves ut half his words, and blots the rest.”
In Emma, Chapter 34 she writes:
“The varieties of handwriting were further talked of, and the usual observations made. “I have asserted,” said John Knightley, “that the same sort of handwriting often prevails in a family; and where the same master teaches, it is natural enough. But for that reason, I should imagine the likeness must be chiefly confined to the females, for the boys have very little teaching after an early age, and scramble into any hand they can get. Isabella and Emma, I think, do write very much alike. I have not always known their writing apart.”
Through her writing, there is no doubting Jane Austen’s intelligence but it was strongly influenced by her emotions and I urge you to read the article to understand how I arrived at my conclusions. As I mentioned in the article, my knowledge of Jane Austen was limited but as a graphologist this was an advantage, because I could not be influenced by preconceptions.