Sunday, April 29, 2007

Carnivalesque XXVI: A Very Carnivalesque Carnivalesque



Welcome to the newest early modern edition of Carnivalesque, which is the modern way to love the pre-modern. For this edition, I thought I would remind Carnivalesque of its roots. So the links of this Carnivalesque focus on food, on drink, on violence, on sex, on spectacle and pageantry, on the startling and the surprising, on chance and vicissitude, with some other things thrown into the mix.

Gavin Robinson's Investigations of a Dog regularly has some of the most interesting discussions of historical causation, use of evidence, and historiography that can be found on a weblog, using issues in military history as a case study. The post, The Lucases of Colchester, is no exception, using an English Civil War memorial as an occasion to discuss the complications of historical causation, and the dangers of reductionism in historical accounts. It also includes a bit of the violence needed for the carnivalesque.

Strange Maps discusses the lead-up to, and aftermath of, the curious 'Aroostook War', a border dispute over the precise boundary between the District of Maine and New Brunswick in 1838/1839. Since it's a war that wasn't a war, it's certainly a case of carnivalesque subversion of expectations.

When I decided to host this edition of Carnivalesque, I knew immediately that I would have to see what Carolyn Smith-Kizer has been cooking up. Smith-Kizer's weblog, 18thC Cuisine, explores the world of early modern cooking from the perspective of a habitante of eighteenth-century Nouvelle France. The delight for this carnival is a 1716 recipe for biscotins.

Reflecting on the recent earthquake in Kent, DrRoy of Early Modern Whale was reminded of Gabriel Harvey's amusing account of the 1580 earthquake.

In the topsy-turvy world of Carnivalesque, the complex interplay of fiction and fact in our sense of history is an ongoing theme. "Greenman" Tim Abbott of Walking the Berkshires discusses a case in which historical fiction has begun seeping into historical account, in which "Jumping" Jack Flashman teaches us the age-old and oft-needed lesson of carnival festivities, that not all that glitters is gold.

Gillian Polack's Food History post about Henri D'Andeli's La bataille des vins is perhaps more suited to a medieval edition than an early modern edition; but where both wine and carnivalesque are involved we laugh at trifles like chronology. Plus, history is not simply identifiable with chronology; and studying one era may provide a clue to understanding a later one. Readers of French might like a taste of the original poem.

At The Long Eighteenth David Mazella contemplates the the history of women's writing, and Susan Staves's argument that it is in women's non-fiction, rather than women's fiction, that the least ideologically constrained images of women will be found.

At Facetation, devoted to the history of engineering, George Goodall discusses the historical role of the mathematical practitioner.

If you want to know anything about the history of rosaries, Chris Laning of Paternosters is the person to look up. In her post on the five wounds rosary Laning discusses a rosary that makes its appearance in a number of early modern engravings and woodcuts.

Daniel Mitsui of The Lion and the Cardinal posts pictures of the Dance of Death from the Oratorio dei Disciplini in Clusone. He also recently posted images of St. John's Heads; a St. John's Head is a devotional image, which began to be popular in the fifteenth century, of the head of St. John the Baptist on a platter above Christ emerging from the tomb.

At Giornale Nuovo, that perpetual treat of images curious and curiouser, misteraitch presents us with etchings by seventeenth-century printmaker Stefano Della Bella.

At Victoria's Cross, we find a post about the life of Zebulon Pike.

Bryant T. Ragan has a guest post at The Cipher discussing the historiography of sexuality; he suggests a shift in how we handle the historical study of sexuality.

Here at Siris I recently had a post on James Beattie's distinction between the ludicrous and the ridiculous. Beattie's attempt to get a handle on the ludicrous, or, as we would call it, the comic, was one of several early modern attempts to give a solid philosophical account of the sense of humor.

April sees the festival of Vaisakhi, when Sikhs all over the world celebrate the formation of the Khalsa, the Sikh community, in 1699 by Guru Gobind Singh. Since festivals and holidays are one of the vehicles of historical memory, it seems fitting to link to sikhnewspaper's selection of links related to coverage of Vaisakhi celebrations in the British media.

And that closes this edition of Carnivalesque. The next edition, an ancient/medieval edition, will be hosted at Aardvarchaeology. Don't forget to submit your posts!

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