"True ease in writing comes from art, not chance"
April 16, 2007 12:44 PM Subscribe
I would like to know about the peculiarities in eighteenth-century writing.
posted by nasreddin to writing & language (10 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
1. The swash S (in manuscript, it extends below the line, in print it resembles an f with the right part of the crossbar missing). What were the rules for using this, since both normal Ses and swash Ses were used? (e.g., the swash appears never to come at the end of a word) Why did it go out of style?
2. The German-like usage of capitals in certain nouns. I notice that toward the beginning of the century, and into the seventeenth, there were more different words in which this was used, and sometimes they were verbs or adjectives. Was this only for emphasis? Why did it stop?
3. The italicization of words referring to countries, e.g. "the English law."
4. The use of certain peculiar methods of abbreviation. Thus, "James" was frequently abbreviated to "Jas:" Normal words, especially in the first half of the century, were often abbreviated and the final letters added in superscript after the word, with a period under them. What's the origin of this style? Why did people stop doing it?
Spelling and punctuation became more regular and standardized toward the end of the century. What forces influenced this process?
(I am aware that these uses were common before the eighteenth century too)