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DonSimpson's avatar

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.
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5060x4369px 11.72 MB
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Chaosfive-55's avatar
This letter's so nice, I faved it twice! :lol:
Chaosfive-55's avatar
One of my Favourites!!!
mild-marrow's avatar
I am not familiar with the story but this is quite awesome!
DonSimpson's avatar
Thank you. :) It's not Lovecraft's best work, but I've read just about everything he's ever written (well, not his corrected letters, but the fiction and poetry).
DonSimpson's avatar
That should be "collected letters", of course. :(
Benjamin-the-Fox's avatar
Just recently re-read this story. This is awesome and the amount of work that must've gone into making it impresses me greatly.
DonSimpson's avatar
Thank you. :)

It was indeed a lot of work, but I didn't notice that at the time, having gotten caught up in it.
Benjamin-the-Fox's avatar
Yeah I know that feeling.

"Oh I'll just bang out a quick little painting. There I'm done! What do ya mean I've been working on it for three weeks?!"
DonSimpson's avatar
Yep, that's the one. :)
keight's avatar
You do invest your time in the most interesting projects, my friend. :)
DonSimpson's avatar
True, for several values of "interesting". :D

Besides Bradford's stuff, the font contains some extra letters in the same style, including the ones needed for Ben Franklin's proposed phonetic alphabet, a period (but non-Bradford) pilcrow, and other odds and ends. This is also the font I used for my name on the oval luggage tag in my Costume Items gallery sub-menu, and I've set some poems using it. I expect I'll find more uses for it. :)
keight's avatar
Aha! I expect you will. :D
TheBrassGlass's avatar
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