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Emiliano Ranocchi

Ranocchi, Emiliano studied Russian and German philology at Urbino University (Italy), he got a PHD in Polish literature at Rome University “La Sapienza”. He works now as fellow researcher at Udine University where he teaches Polish language and literature. As a dix-huitièmiste and a specialist forCentral European liter atures, he focuses mainly on this period and area. For some years now he has been working on the Polish Francophone writer Jan Potocki. During inquiries in Russia, Poland and Ukraine he found various, until now unknown manuscripts of Potocki’s: letters, memoires and essays. In particular, he investigated the geological corpus of Potocki. He has also re-established the meeting between Jan Potocki, Goethe and Herder in Karlsbad in summer 1785. For quite a long time he has been also dealing with modernism, particularly with the literary output of a forgotten interwar Polish writer, Jerzy Sosnkowski. Deputy editor-in-chief of the quarterly review Autoportret (www.autoportret.pl).

Script and Identity

Among modern European nations the history of German literacy is one of the most interesting ones. There is no other country in Europe where two different kinds of script (the Latin antiqua and the Gothic fraktur) had coexisted for such a long time, until mid-20th c. For centuries, the Gothic script was a synonym for German identity, although already towards the end of the 18th c. in
German typography efforts were done to shift to antiqua. It was Adolph Hitler who, surprisingly, in 1941 put an end to the debate between fraktur and antiqua in favour of the last one. After this date, the connection between script and national identity fell definitively apart and German people lost the ability to read fraktur (and its equivalent in handwriting, so called Currentschrift). The opposition between fraktur and antiqua is not only a cultural one, it does concern not only the position of German culture and identity in Europe, but also the relationship to sign, to its arbitrariness and conventionality, or – on the contrary – to its symbolic and intuitive essence.