Welcome, one and all, to Carnivalesque 48, the early modern edition!
As should come as no surprise, some of the most interesting posts on early modern studies in the last few months have come from two sources. Both Mercurius Politicus (written by Nick Poyntz) and diapsalmata (Whitney Anne Trettien) routinely have fabulous posts; I’ll single out a couple here, but really, their blogs are worth reading regularly. Mercurius’s Killing Noe Murder discusses Edward Sexby’s 1648 pamphlet justifying the murder of Cromwell; part of Nick’s concern is the production and distribution of the pamphlet, a theme he takes up in a broader examination of the rise of newsbooks in The Great Game.
There is some more material book history over at diapsalmata, where Whitney has been looking at the practice of cut-ups in a series of posts. The first draws connections between early modern commonplacing, Dada cut-ups, and digital poetry–a great synthesis of material reading and writing practices across the centuries. There are also recent posts on the Little Gidding “harmonies” and the function of manicules in early printed books that are beautifully illustrated and elucidatory.
I’m not done with book history yet: bookn3rd looks at the history of anatomy illustrations and BibliOdyssey reproduces some illustrations of early machine technology from Heinrich Zeising’s 1612 Theatri Machinarum–read through the post comments for further information on Zeising, and notice the illustration of the printing press.
The Scriblerus Memoirs writes about reading Paradise Lost while thinking about Google, and comes up with some observations about searching and knowledge, and angels and algorithms. At Early Modern Whale, Roy Booth has been thinking about murder and comes up with The awful plot again Curate Trat. Over at Parezco y digo, Chad Black’s thoughts about etymology and sodomy lead to a thoughtful exploration of gender and sexuality and its linguistic markers in eighteenth-century Latin America.
A few libraries have started blogs to highlight their collections, and there’s been some great stuff showing up. The Wellcome Library’s post on “The Tribulations of Father Bernardo” is a great discussion of the seventeenth century Genoese painter Bernardo Strozzi. Yale’s Beinecke Library has a blog devoted to our period; many times those posts simply feature images of works, but this one not only shows but discusses a mid-seventeenth century commonplace book including Donne poems. The Beinecke is also behind this word-a-day blog of Dr Johnson’s Dictionary–not only will you expand your vocabulary, you’ll see Johnson’s annotations to the first edition as he prepared for the fourth edition. Never has encyclopedia seemed more fitting. Yale is also home to the Yale Law Library, which has its own blog that features, on occasion, early modern materials; here is a series of posts about their collection of early Italian statutes.
There’s been some great blogging around book reviews in the last month or so, too. At In the Middle, a group blog for medieval studies, Karl Steel reviews James Simpson’s early modern focused Burning to Read: English Fundamentalism and its Reformation Opponents, succeeding not only in a thoughtful response to Simpson’s book but in starting a smart discussion in the post’s comments.
Judith Bennett’s History Matters: Feminism and the Challenge of the Patriarchy is the subject of a roundtable discussion by a series of feminist historians, with each post touching on some important questions about what it means to be a historian, what it means to be a feminist, and what it means for the two to intersect. The first discussion is hosted by Notorious PhD; the second by Historiann (don’t miss her follow-up in which she expounds on why “Lawrence Stone is a tool”); and the third discussion is hosted by Tenured Radical. Part 4 will appear at Another Damned Medievalist on March 23, and the final part will feature Bennett herself at Notorious PhD.
I realize, by the way, that this is a medieval-heavy cast of characters, but the discussion is certainly relevant for our period, too. If you’re aching for some meta-discussion about the implications of history and labels by someone based in the early modern period, check out the thoughts of Chronologi Cogitationes on what it means to do “maritime history.”
But let’s leave things on a lighter, more popular note. Some of you might have noticed some talk about a discovery of a painting of someone. But who? Shakespeare? Overbury? Stanley Wells says it’s Shakespeare, but he’s almost the only one. Mr Shakespeare’s blog gives an overview (and lots of links, including the huge discussion at the New York Times blog, The Lede) but withholds judgment; Adam Gopnik, blogging for the New Yorker, is thoroughly unconvinced.
Many thanks to all of you who submitted nominations, and particular thanks to these great bloggers who made doing this so much fun. Happy reading!
Update: Mr Shakespeare’s blog posted this latest yesterday, with greater skepticism about the portrait, summarizing and linking to articles recounting the doubts of National Portrait Gallery curator Tarnya Cooper about the portrait as being of Shakespeare and providing some insight into why we should be happy to have a newly discovered portrait of Thomas Overbury.