"It is in fact striking how frequently violent social clashes apparently 'coincided' with carnival … to call it a ‘coincidence’ of social revolt and carnival is deeply misleading, for … it was only in the late 18th and early 19th centuries—and then only in certain areas—that one can reasonably talk of popular politics dissociated from the carnivalesque at all." ~ Stallybrass and White, The Politics and Poetics of Transgression
“But as we move backward from 1760 we enter a world of theatrical symbolism which is more difficult to interpret: popular political sympathies are expressed in a code quite different from that of the 1640s and 1790s. It is a language of ribbons, of bonfires, of oaths and the refusal of oaths, of toasts, of seditious riddles and ancient prophecies, of oak leaves and of maypoles, of ballads with a political double entendre, even of airs whistled in the streets.” ~ E.P. Thompson, Customs in Common: Studies in Traditional Popular Culture
Thematic Images for Ancient Precursors to Carnival & Carnivalesque
Thematic Images for Carnival & Carnivalesque Masks
Thematic Images for Carnival & Carnivalesque
Thematic Images for Carnival & Carnivalesque Resistance
Thematic Images for Carnivalesque Resistance at Merrymount, Massachusetts
Maypole dance of resistance at Merrymount
Thematic Images for Carnivalesque "Lord of Misrule"
For the poem, "The Lord of Misrule," by Alfred Noyes, click here.
Thematic Images for Carnivalesque "The World Turned Upside-Down"
May Day "World Turned Upside-Down"
Thematic Images for the Carnivalesque "World Turned Upside-Down" & The Diggers
The Diggers of 1649: "England is not a free people, till the poor that have no land have a free allowance to dig and labour the commons..."
The Diggers of 1649
Diggers on St. George Hill (1649)
"The World Turned Upside Down."
Written by Leon Rosselson, the song "The World Turned Upside Down" honored the Diggers Commune of 1649. It is often thought that "The World Turned Upside Down" (not to be confused with the 17th century ballad of the same title), composed by Leon Rosselson in 1975, taken into the charts in 1985 by Billy Bragg and performed by several other artists, is a version of the "Diggers' Song". In May 2009 Leon Rosselson corrected this belief in the Guardian newspaper: “I wrote the song in 1974 …. It's the story of the Digger Commune of 1649 and their vision of the earth as 'a common treasury'. It's become a kind of anthem for various radical groups, particularly since Billy Bragg recorded it , and is not adapted from any other song. The title is taken from Christopher Hill's book about the English revolution.” Some have expressed that during the height of the Occupy Movement they often thought of this song.
Thematic Images for Carnival & Carnivalesque "Dancing in the Street"