Carnivalesque #101

Things have been quiet around here lately, as Anchora -- like the rest of the Midwest -- has been hibernating through the frigid winter. Meanwhile, I'm happy to report that the early modern blogosphere has been flourishing. So as we turn toward spring -- and inaugurate a new century of sorts for Carnivalesque -- let's launch right into the best the web has had to offer this year so far.

Folger Shakespeare Library
V.b.311, f. 129r
If you're reading this blog, then you're very likely the kind of person who has already seen this -- but you likely won't mind seeing it again. Rocket cats (Rocket cats!) caught fire after this post from Atlas Obscura, featuring what appear to be jet-propelled felines (such as in the image above, from the Folger Shakespeare Library's digital collections). That post followed up on a previous entry from Unique at Penn on early modern explosives treatises. However, as Mitch Fraas recently explained to the Guardian, they're not really rocket cats at all, but a "harebrained scheme" to attach incendiary devices to animals that, as far as we know, was never put into practice. (No animals were harmed in the production of this Carnivalesque). Animals could be a threat, though -- especially mad dogs -- so Alun Withey explains the remedies for hydrophobia.

The rocket cats were not the only strange thing found in books in recent months: to stick with the animal kingdom, Jeff Peachey reports (Eek!) on a mouse he found in a book (for what reason is unknown--maybe as a bookmark?). It seems that the owner of that book may have failed to take the advice of Ask the Past, who shows us how to hande books, c.1345 (short version: no cheese!) And speaking of book owners behaving badly, Lisa Fagin Davis practices some digital fragmentology on her Manuscript Road Trip in an attempt to put back together what the biblioclast Otto Ege once broke apart. And David Whitesell at UVA explains the history of book-breaking in Breaking Bad (which sums up the matter nicely).

No animals may have been harmed, but some scribes were not as lucky, as Thijs Porck reports on scribal abuse in the middle ages at Medieval Fragments. A gorgeous example of scribal labor was recently acquired by the British Library: a medieval dramatic script with fantastic illustrations. The BL also shows what you can find if you look at the manuscript fragments hidden away within bindings. And Jenny Weston at Medieval Fragments looks at bindings that you can't miss, those made to show off the super bling of the rich and famous -- like this example from the Morgan Library:

The Lindau Gospel, Morgan Library, New York
Weston also shows us what held books, with a look at medieval book furniture. How much did medieval books cost? Notorious Scriptor looks at evidence from colophons. On a related note, Julie Somers looks at books that aren't really books at all -- rather, they are cases or shrines meant to resemble books. Mercurius Politicus looks at a different kind of books that aren't books (at least any longer) in a post on books with names but no bodies. And of course not all forms of printed matter are books -- as Jason Scott-Warren looks at filling in forms (within the Russian bureaucracy) in before the autocomplete. And there may not be any bling, as in the bindings above, but Notabilia features a book no less interesting -- an early example of an English publisher's binding.

The Special Collections at the Tisch Library shows us a book that was  once owned by Sir Kenelm Digby at the anatomy of bibliomania -- though to my mind the pasted-in correction of the page signature is the real draw here (has anyone ever seen that before?) A more extensive correction can be seen in Cardiff's copy of Thomas Milles's Catalogue of Honor, which was censored and, at least in their copy, repaired. To see a copy in which the scandal was not repaired, head over to this post on my very own site. Early Modern/Medieval Histories shows corrections, additions, and at times subtractions in Dutch chronicles.

At the Princeton library, Notabilia takes us inside an engraver's workshop c.1623. Antipodean Footnotes showcases the work of some skilled engravers in Nullis in verba, which looks at the first two books of the Royal Society, including Hooke's Micrographia (and its famous flea). They also take a look at the woodcuts in the Italian and French editions of Hypnerotomachia Poliphili.

As you can see, this blog loves books -- but Alexis Coe recently gave us a list of eight experts who love books harder and who are killing it online. And that list includes Iowa's very own Special Collections librarian Colleen Theisen. (And she's not the only one around these parts who loves books -- take a look at the Books@Iowa page on this site).

Folger Shakespeare Library
V.b.232, f. 57r
Why does this man have a tree growing out of him? Heather Wolfe at The Collation explains where family trees come from. The Collation -- the blog at the Folger Shakespeare Library -- continues to be your early-modern must-read, and they've given us an abundance of fascinating posts recently. Of particular use (especially while teaching) is Sarah Werner's primer on transcribing early modern textual oddities like u/v, i/j, and s/long-s. Meanwhile, Goran Proot looks at the v/u shift in 17th century Flemish imprints in a pair of posts, here and here. We all know what happens when you mistake a long-s for an f, and So Long As It's Words takes a look at the origin of everyone's favorite curse word. And speaking of curses, Early Modern Whale looks at the maledictions of Mary Smith in 1616.

There are several new and exciting digital humanities projects out there, along with some new developments in established projects. There's much ado about data over at winedarksea including a roundup of recent DH and quantitative analysis projects, along with a look at a very important word in Macbeth: "the" (who knew?). The Wordseer project at Berkeley uses similar methods to define relationships between men and women in Shakespeare. Jonathan Green at Research Fragments explains how Luther killed Cicero by graphing the publication of the classics. Copious but not Compendious outlines the problems with (and attempts a solution to) citing EEBO (Early English Books Online). Whitney Trettien has a fantastic post on digital layout analysis as part of her admirable project to produce a digital edition of a Little Gidding Harmony. And Sarah Werner exposes the wrong way to do digital history in It's History, Not a Viral Feed.

The Renaissance Mathematicus sets us straight on the myth of the dark ages in the history of science, while Les Leftovers debunks the the great medieval water myth (short version: they actually drank water). And Muse*less tell us what Milton thinks about the crisis in the humanities.

The Social Historian looks at the first century of social welfare, while Many Headed Monster outlines the sad case of Mary Stevens accused of "wandering and begging." Language Hat explains the complicated history of "mistress" and "Mrs." On a brighter note, we recently learned about a literary miracle: a new Sappho poem. And Wendelkate Procrastinates shows some entertaining depictions of women jousting with distaffs.

The Map of Early Modern London not only started a blog but took the time to provide an overview of the purposes and practices of scholarly blogging. A Beautiful Book takes a closer look at early London, with a focus on the book trade in Paternoster Row. Doing History in Public looks at medeival mappaemundi.

And finally, let's end where we started, with the only thing anyone can talk about this winter: the weather. Many Headed Monster looks at historic storms and floods. Here's hoping sunnier days are ahead; in the meantime, there's no shortage of early modern blogs to read while stay inside waiting for conditions to improve.