Friday, February 29, 2008

The Wandring Jews Chronicle, c. 1660

Have you ever wondered about Medieval and Renaissance English monarchs? Well, look no further: it's a special LOL Manuscripts history lesson! I've helpfully glossed each ruler with a word I feel best describes their reign. Print it out to cheat on your next history exam, or use it to quiz people at cocktail parties!

This is part of a giant ballad about British kings...I don't know what any of this has to do with Jews, but the speaker sort of travels through time and sees a bunch of them crowned. For some reason, there's no Henry V (wtf?), and if the date's right, that last Mary can't be Mary II, but I'm not sure what else to do with her.

But how did the English Monarchs die, you ask? Awesomely, that's how:

My favorites would have to be Henry I, who died from eating a bad batch of lampreys, and Edward II, because you have to appreciate literalism. And what's up with the two "accidental" arrow shots? I fear foul play.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The true report of the forme and shape of a monstrous childe, 1562

Another monstrous birth, because I love them and they're all over EEBO. I had a public service announcement poster in mind for this one, so I decided to make it flashy and colorful. I will note that this little fella looks mysteriously like a Thalidomide baby.

I think there would be less fetal alcohol syndrome if the Surgeon General used illustrations like this. Here's a poorly photoshopped version of that future:

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Whipster of Woodstreet, 1690

I think mine would be "albatross." Or "Xanadu." Coleridge would definitely be alluded to in some fashion, because he always makes me think of weird sexual exploits (see: Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy, and their creepy friendship/obsession with each other and Coleridge). Actually, upon further consideration, maybe I'd go Foucauldian and pick "panopticon," because I think Foucault was actually into this kind of stuff. Oh, it's such a difficult decision!

Anyway, this ballad is about these women who beat their servant Mary Cox to death. While that's pretty grim, I'm most unsettled by the little boy casually juggling in the doorway. And I'm still not sure what all is lying on the ground. I can see the basket and the dress, but what is that thing in between them? A frozen turkey? That Mary Cox was into some kinky stuff.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Memento Mori image, 1690

This image is repeated through quite a few broadsides in the later 17th century. For the record, I think it's pretty fantastic, and would make quite a harrowing lower-back tattoo.

P.S. -- You are going to die, you know. Tick-tock.

P.P.S. -- I just found out people actually get memento mori lower back tattoos! All this time I thought they were relegated only to butterflies, but I've been proven wrong. Maybe reminding people of their mortality is easier to take if it's peeking out from low rider jeans. I imagine a typical scenario would go like this: "Oh dude, check out that chick! Wait, does she have a sexy tattoo? Try to read it!" [Reads it. Becomes depressed. Ponders the choices he's made in his life.]

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Lamenting Lady, c. 1620

Full Title:

"The Lamenting Lady, Who for the wrongs done to her by a poore woman, for hauing two children at one burthen, was by the hand of God most strangely punished, by sending her as many children at one birth, as there are daies in the yeare, in remembrance whereof, there is now a monument builded in the Citty of Lowdon, as many English men now liuing in Lowdon, can truely testifie the same and hath seene it"

That's right -- if you're mean to and/or belittle a woman for having twins, God will punish you with a plague of babies. Not laughing now, are you?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Villany Rewarded; or the Pirate's Last Farewell to the World, 1696

Even though Valentine's Day has past, I was feeling romantic. I suppose I'm just an old softy at heart. Feel free to use this image as a greeting card for your significant other on anniversaries, birthdays, or "just because."

This image is from a ballad about the execution of a pirate. The other image it contains features pirates hanged at the execution dock at Wapping, which is where they were usually hanged and left (covered in tar to preserve them) as a warning to other criminals. Still, we have some quality stuff here: quarters of the body and the head on spikes, the scavenging birds, the disemboweling and burning of viscera, and of course the message of undying love. I guess ladies had to take what they could get in 17th century London.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Princess' Welcome To England, 1689

We've dealt with boobs before on lolmanuscripts, but I felt like they needed to make a comeback. Mary looks like she got some bad plastic surgery, though.

I see a sexy calendar in the making! Except instead of hanging on the walls of a Jiffy Lube, my "Naughty Ladies of the 17th century" publication will decorate the interiors of Renaissance departments across the land, thus making it the saddest porn ever created. Umm...Happy Valentine's Day?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Future Rochester!

Part IV of "Rochester Through the Ages":

The Year 3000: Life on Earth has taken a turn for the worse, so Future Rochester makes an escape to his Moon colonies. As the world he once knew is destroyed, Rochester takes it upon himself to begin repopulating the human race.

He finally starts writing racy poetry again, but this time it's full of puns about "black holes." Civilization is saved, but Rochester's wanderlust gets the better of him. Determined to reach the edges of the universe in order to discover the ever-elusive fifth dimension, Rochester leaves the moon behind to travel further and further into the great unkown. What adventures will the future contain? To know this is even beyond his own powers. Godspeed, Rochester. Godspeed.

Thus concludeth "Rochester Through the Ages." (Is is just me, or have I come dangerously close to Rochester-inspired fan fiction? )

Monday, February 4, 2008

80s Rochester!

Part III of "Rochester Through the Ages":

80s Rochester is totally rad! I like to think that he was in a hair metal band, seeing as how he pretty much had the most rockin' hair of the 17th century. It takes a lot of Aquanet to look that pretty.

There are theories that Prince was a protégé of 80s John Wilmot's. For proof, I suggest you read the lyrics to "Darling Nikki" and tell me they don't smack of Rochester. They even dressed the same. But watch out, 80s Rochester! Instead of good old friendly Syphilis, this decade has HIV/AIDS, so you should practice safe sex! (Oh, why am I telling you this? You totally won't be safe.)

Friday, February 1, 2008

70s Rochester!

Part II of "Rochester through the ages":

70s Rochester was super glam! I think he would have been best friends with Glam Oscar Wilde. They would have gone to Studio 54 all the time, hanging out in the VIP Room exploring their sexualities and doing coke off of hookers. 70s Rochester would probably wear roller skates all the time, too. Funkadelic!