my layout falls apart and the sidebar pushes the content down the page in IE6 only. It appears the mainContent div that's floated right does not clear sidebar on the left. If I get rid of the class="italic" it all works fine. If I put the class="italic" in a <span> I still have the problem. all other stylings of the .italic class work ok.
CSS code (total width is 925px):
When you make a sentence in italics then IE tips the font over slightly to make the italic effect. However in doing so the font now stretches wider than it did before and causes it to be too big for the element it sits in. If this element is a float then the float gets pushed wider and doesn't fit so it drops down.
If you put the italic text in a container that is slightly smaller than the width of the parent float it will still break out of the new parent but doesn't affect the original parent float anymore because even when stretched it is still smaller than the floats width.
It's an age old bug that affects italic text and em text.