Re: Medievalist ligature character in the PUA

From: Asmus Freytag (
Date: Wed Jan 27 2010 - 01:15:31 CST

  • Next message: Werner LEMBERG: "Re: Medievalist ligature character in the PUA"

    On 1/26/2010 10:20 PM, Werner LEMBERG wrote:
    >> Well I would hardly doubt the Fraktur will get a revival. Even
    >> though everybody can read it (albeit slowly), in the worst case it
    >> is associated with Nazis,
    > You are aware that the Nazis have forbidden the use of Fraktur (in
    > 1941), calling them `Schwabacher Judenletter'? This is probably the
    > main reason Fraktur is out of use today in Germany: After the war,
    > most of the printing machines lacked Fraktur fonts, and this fact
    > simply became the standard...
    Actually, independent and in spite of the other aspects of their
    ideology, it strikes me that
    they were not necessarily backward-looking. In other words, they were quite
    open to technological progress and continued some of the developments of
    the 20s that were considered progressive at the time.

    My sense is that the underlying motivation for the switch away from Fraktur
    were the forces of economic and technological integration and competition
    among industrialized countries, the early 20th century fore-runner of
    today's globalization.

    We, today, experience Fraktur as an interesting cultural museum piece,
    but are glad we don't have to live in the museum. I suspect that many
    people at that time also were happy to leave the museum.

    If that was indeed the case, then the Nazis were not the cause of
    that development away from having a peculiar local typographic style,
    rather they gave it their usual rationalization and coopted it.

    In other areas, in the arts, in architecture, the culture had moved on
    decisively to leave the 19th century behind (Jugendstil, Bauhaus).
    None of these were really compatible with the somewhat medieval
    feel of Fraktur. (My interpretation).

    Anyway, I base my interpretation about the causes for these developments
    on lengthy discussions with an artist who lived through the turn from
    19th to 20th century. Among other things she vividly described to me
    was the sense of esthetic "unclogging" she experienced when the
    frilly/overstuffed designs of the 19th century gave way to the
    forerunners of modern designs. That's what makes me suspect that
    40 years later, the sense that Fraktur was becoming a museum piece
    must have begun to strike a wider chord in the population.

    OK, enough fun with speculation!


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