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The Curwen Letter



My version of a letter that plays an important part in H. P. Lovecraft's horror novel, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.

The text is given in the story, in as close to 17th century style as Lovecraft could manage on a typewriter, and I have put it into a 17th century handwriting, using a computer font I created that is based mostly on the handwriting of William Bradford, the governor of Plymouth Colony. After setting the text, a list of search-and-replace items were required, as there are several ligated letters (ct, ck,ff, etc.), some letters that are written differently when at the end of a word (s, e, etc,), and several abbreviations ("the" looks like a "Y" with an "e" over it, "Mister" like an "M" with a squiggly tail) in this style. If I had more advanced font software (and later program versions), this could all be done automatically....

The letter shapes are pretty much just as Bradford wrote them, [link] but he wrote with more space between letters and between lines. I compacted them from the standard settings on my font to get something less legible, so it looks somewhat ugly. Also, Bradford (writing with a quill pen) managed to get his right margins very neat, while avoiding hyphenation. Some were almost perfectly even on the right, but not this even. My software doesn't have "almost perfect" justification, just perfect or ragged....

The download is full resolution.
Image size
5060x4369px 11.72 MB
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Chaosfive-55's avatar
This letter's so nice, I faved it twice! :lol: