Sunday, April 27, 2008

A pleasant Countrey new ditty, 1625

The Full title of this ballad is A pleasant Countrey new ditty, merrily showing how to drive the cold winter away. I know that this is exactly what I do in the winter. . . just hang out with a few buds and eat porridge and one chicken leg.

Now that I'm getting older, I occasionally get invited to "dinner parties," which are just like regular parties, except lame. A spoon-fellator, however, would improve just about anything. But I hear you have to book them way in advance.

Make sure you RSVP!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Myrrour of the Chyrche, 1527

This is an early Renaissance printing of the writings of St. Edmund of Abingdon, 13th century Archbishop of Canterbury. Since it's Catholic, much of the writing is about how bad hell will be for us all. Oh well! I did a throwback to my days of lolcat gags for this woodcut illustrating what's going to happen to all us sinners when we're damned.

I like the animal-demons a lot, athough it would probably be pretty terrifying to be fed to a giant bulldog by an anthropomorphized cockatoo.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The English Irish Soludier, 1642

Typical anti-Irish invective in this broadside, but the picture is too hilarious to pass up. The poem shows us how the Irish soldier would "rather eat than fight," and if he does fight in England's wars it's only so that he can pillage. He got some pretty sweet stuff though: a pot that doubles as a cool helmet, two fowls, a "bandaleer" of canary bottles (wine), sausages, and an artichoke. The final stanza suggests that if it weren't for all the stealing and booze, you'd never get the Irish to commit to anything. I know I couldn't pass up a good artichoke if I saw one just lying around after a battle.

Really, the more I think about it, the more I realize that pillaging is one of the only reasons I'd enter into military service. To be fair, the whole idea of stealing post-battle was one of the main recruitment tools for potential Medieval and Renaissance soldiers. Our military men are really getting a raw deal when compared to mercenaries of yore...what happened to all the perks of fighting foreign wars? Anyone remember all of those Crusades? All those wars with the Turks? Now that was the time to be battling Saracens! Those guys got all kinds of good stuff. I think this poster could reopen that particular recruitment tool. Say goodbye to boring, accusatory Uncle Sam and hello to Uncle Paddy McDrukenthief! Where do I sign up?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ye Greatest and Meruelous uisyoned Batayle, 1518

In honor of Shakespeare's birthday, I have tackled the debate about Shakespearean authorship. The Oxfordian Theory suggests that Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, actually wrote the plays and poems attributed to Shakespeare. Much of the "evidence" is either ridiculous, circumstantial, or tainted with class issues -- specifically the notion that a merchant's son could never have produced such great literary works. It's bullshit, of course, but I was shocked by how many people actually call themselves anti-Stratfordians. Losers--especially Orson Welles and Derek Jacobi. WTF guys?

Shakespeare up, Oxford down. But I do think that the anti-Oxfordian battle flag I made is pretty sweet. In other Shakespearean news, you should watch the trailer for this movie: Hamlet 2. That's right. And it has Steve Coogan in it! I'll bet he's a Stratfordian.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The True Fortune Teller, 1698


Astrology, palmistry, divination, and other crazy prognosticating systems were pretty popular in the Renaissance, but I'd never heard of Metoposcopy until I came across this. I guess it's sort of like Phrenology, using wrinkles to try to divine a person's future or tell their fortune instead of the shape of the skull. The book I took the image from is a how-to guide for reading palms and faces, understanding astrological signs, and interpreting dreams.

Oh, Renaissance. Why did you love this stupid shit so much?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Ages of Sin, 1635

Turtles will give you salmonella. It has been proven. Do not touch them. Ever.

Anyway, The Ages of Sin pairs certain (non-deadly, as far as I can tell) sins with an illustrative metaphorical image and explanation. Something about this one spoke to me, maybe because I do think turtles are like walking buckets of disease, maybe because I like that the man seems to have a deep-seated vendetta against them, and maybe because this very scene has most likely been played out many a time, "'cause turtles is goooood eatin'. "

In other news, Seamus Heaney got my special treatment over at Literary Makeovers!!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Prouerbs of Lydgate, 1510

John Lydgate (
c.1370-c.1451) was an English poet and priest. He wrote ridiculously long poems and quite a few hagiographies. I don't know much about him, although I've read a little of his work. He is credited with advancing the language quite a bit, coining new words (he's ALWAYS in the OED...I dare you to look something up and not see his name) or writing the earliest versions of now-cliched phrases like, "All is not golde that shewyth goldishe hewe." I'm positive that the antecedent of Tag Team's immortal "Party over here!" is somewhere in his book of proverbs, but I'm not going to read the whole thing, so I wrote it for him.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The French Monstrous Beast, 1692

I only know one French sentence: "Ou est la bibliotheque?" That's always the very first sentence they teach you in a foreign language...I guess so if you can't communicate, you can go learn how in the library. I will say that the French monstrous beast is not quite as scary as Rome's monstrous beast, as far as monstrous beasts go.

Also, you should check out this makeover of Thomas Wyatt.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Writing School-Master, 1620

This comes from a workbook written by John Davies for teaching children how to write in fancy Renaissance script. I, however, have taken a nice manual about penmanship and dragged it through the mud. But I do like the idea of a Ben Jonson figurine...I think couples would have fought over that during a break-up.

p.s. -- I've done makeovers of Rimbaud and Coleridge that are pretty spectacular over at Literary Makeovers!!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Now I actually have to learn photoshop

You know, my blog is pretty good, but I've always held myself to the gold standard of hilarious, literature-based satire: Katie Burgess' Literary Makeovers!!! That's how it's done, folks.

But now, I am excited to announce that I have been invited to do some literary makeovers of my own for National Poetry Month. FINALLY I am a part of the Literary Makeovers team! Dreams do come true!

With respect to my Renaissance roots, there's really only one poet worthy of being made over. I bet you can't guess who I did. (But I will say that the photoshopping is pretty damn least for me.)

Thanks Katie!