Aslant or Askew? Italics in Fiction

Audrey Driscoll has an interesting and very helpful post on the history of Italics with useful suggestions on when to use them.

Audrey Driscoll's Blog

Recently I described some problems I had with italic characters in one of my books. And no, I don’t mean people from Italy; I’m talking about text in what is called italic type.

As the Wikipedia entry explains, italic type has been around for quite a while. It arose in imitation of calligraphic handwriting, hence its rightward slant. Italics have a certain ornamental quality, and are often used where elegance is required, as in wedding invitations.

Here is a great description from Wikipedia, of a specific type of italics:  “a more deliberate and formal handwriting [with] longer ascenders and descenders, sometimes with curved or bulbous terminals…” Love that typographical jargon!

Those longer ascenders and descenders are most evident in the letter “f,” which was the one that recently gave me grief when I was correcting a few errors in one of my books.

Image by Maat via Wikimedia Commons…

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