If memory serves me, Joseph Loewenstein's article, "Idem: Italics and the
Genetics of Authorship," published in the Journal of Medieval and Renaissance
Studies, (Fall 1990), "speaks" directly to the questions you've raised.
University of Virginia
On Sat, 14 Feb 2004, Leon Conrad wrote:
> Dear listmembers,
> Might I broaden the question of languages and their uses to scripts and
> their uses?
> I know that a lot of work has been done on the development of
> scripts and fonts in the early days of printing, but has anyone covered
> associations such as why Italian vernacular texts tend to be printed in
> italics; more formal ones in Roman, etc.?
> Writing books give a wide variety of fonts - let alone alphabets. Does
> know whether anyone has done any work on the possible associations of
> suitability these may have had?
> Leon Conrad
> London, UK