Carnivalesque 56

[posted by Gavin Robinson, 10:15 am, 22 November 2009]

Welcome to the 56th edition of Carnivalesque, the pre-modern history blog carnival. This is an early-modern edition, covering roughly 1500-1800.

Past, Present and Future

Seventeenth century archbishop James Ussher is famous/notorious for saying that the world was created at exactly 6pm on 22nd October 4004BC. The Renaissance Mathematicus explains why this isn’t really as stupid as it now sounds.

Historiann wonders what the Founding Fathers would really think of Barack Obama’s policies, and why anyone should care.

Lee Durbin at Marginalia looks at the film Prospero’s Books, making links between Shakespeare and modern technology.


Natalie Bennett at Philobiblon reviews Ted Vallance‘s latest book, A Radical History of Britain, which covers radical men and women in the English Revolution among other things.

The History Woman reviews Blair Worden’s Roundhead Reputations, which shows how the stories of famous parliamentarians were rewritten in the later seventeenth century to make them look less religious than they really were. Gracchi at Westminster Wisdom finds that this absence of religion is also a problem in Antonia Southern’s Forlorn Hope: Soldier Radicals of the Seventeenth Century.

Nick Poyntz at Mercurius Politicus reports on the recent auction of a pair of boots which might or might not have belonged to Oliver Cromwell, and puts together a whole collection of Cromwell relics. What would the famous Puritan have thought of this suspiciously Popish way of remembering him?

The Gentleman Administrator looks at a radical pamphlet from 1651 which represents Charles II as death.

Sex and Violence

At Fragments there are some excerpts from Thomas Platter’s observations of London in 1599, including drinking, prostitution, hanging and flogging.

Georgian London tells us all about notorious sex criminal Whipping Tom who stalked the Fleet Street area in the 1670s, spanking women. Contemporary pamphlets condemned him to a certain extent but also treated his activities as a bit of a joke and suggested that his victims liked it really. Tabloid hypocrisy and misogyny are nothing new.

Bavardess asks some awkward questions about the modern fashion for torture museums. Why is it alright to use pre-modern crimes against humanity as entertainment?

And Finally

Roy Booth at Early Modern Whale reads a guide to conjuring tricks from 1634 and finds that the book is a trick in itself because it’s blatantly plagiarized.

Much more original is David Lawrence’s The Complete Soldier: Military Books and Military Culture in Early Stuart England, 1603-1645. As my review shows, it was worth the outrageous price.

Olivia Smith at Airs, Waters, Places finds a man who tried and failed to walk on water in 1669.

And at diapsalmata Whitney Anne Trettien shows some prints of disembodied legs and a drawing that is so bad it’s good.

That’s all for this month. The next Carnivalesque will be an ancient/medieval edition (at Zenobia: Empress of the East?) in December. You can submit posts using the ancient/medieval nomination form

The next early modern edition will be at The Gentleman Administrator in January. You can submit posts using the early-modern nomination form.


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