From: John Hudson (email@example.com)
Date: Thu May 22 2003 - 20:38:43 EDT
At 03:00 PM 5/22/2003, Jim Allan wrote:
>And in the same section are a set of Latin Letters in Sans Serif style, a
>style that first rose to popularity in the early 19th century, and was
>insultingly named "Gothic" by those who found it *barbaric*.
>The "Gothic" namestuck and is still used today as part of the name of many
>Sans-serif fonts, such as Franklin Gothic.
>Another insulting name given to this type style which stuck and is still
>used was "Grotesque".
Grotesque is not necessarily a term of insult. Only recently has it become
synonymous with gross or disgusting. Grotesque, in addition to being an
adjective, is also a noun referring to a particular kind of decorative art.
In this context, grotesque means something closer to a fantasy or fancy,
usually visual but also literary (I have a friend who is currently teaching
a university course on the history of the grotesque in European
literature). When the term first came to be used for sans serif letters in
the 19th century, it appears to have referred to their novelty and
unusualness, rather than to ugliness or barbarism. To wit, Southward in his
dictionary of typography of 1875 defines Grotesque as 'the name of a
peculiar fancy jobbing type'. We may find it strange, today, to think of
sans serif types as 'fancy', because we tend to associate fancy with
James Mosley has written an excellent little monograph on the early history
of the modern sans serif letter, entitled _The Nymph and the Grot_.
Tiro Typeworks www.tiro.com
Vancouver, BC firstname.lastname@example.org
If you browse in the shelves that, in American bookstores,
are labeled New Age, you can find there even Saint Augustine,
who, as far as I know, was not a fascist. But combining Saint
Augustine and Stonehenge -- that is a symptom of Ur-Fascism.
- Umberto Eco
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Thu May 22 2003 - 21:19:56 EDT