"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
For a description of the Puritan repression of the Merrymount May Day festivities, click here
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"
Thematic Images for Carnivalesque Today
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“Orpheus and Narcissus (like Dionysus to whom they are akin: the antagonist of the god who sanctions the logic of domination, the realm of reason) stand for a very different reality. They have not become the culture-heroes of the Western world: theirs is the image of joy and fulfillment; the voice which does not command but sings; the gesture which offers and receives; the deed which is peace and ends the labor of conquest; the liberation from time which unites man with god, man with nature.” ~ Herbert Marcuse
For May Day Carnivalesque (Pt. 2) Epilogue
Examples of "Carnivalwsque" happenings in the 1960s rock music world.
For the section of the musical essay: “Prologue for May Day Carnivalesque: Play Day & Labor Day (i.e., the 'Green-Root' Pagan May Day & the 'Red-Root' International Workers’ May Day) Not Two Different Holidays"
(original collage, "Child's Play," by John Ashbery)
Blurring the Line Between Work & Play
“Work and play are words used to describe the same thing under different conditions.” ~ Mark Twain
“The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.” ~ Arnold Toynbee
“I cannot face with comfort the idea of life without work; work and the free play of the imagination are for me the same thing. I take no pleasure in anything else.” ~ Sigmund Freud
“If their work is satisfying people don't need leisure in the old-fashioned sense. No one ever asks what Newton or Darwin did to relax, or how Bach spent his weekends. At Eden-Olympia work is the ultimate play, and play the ultimate work.” ~ J.G. Ballard
“The work becomes play and play becomes your work, your life unfolds.” ~ Robert Frost
“Perhaps it is this theory of all work and no play that has made the Marxist such a very dull boy.” ~ Herbert Read
“The difference between work and play is only a matter of attitude. Work, fully done, is play.” ~ Gerald May
“To play so as to be relaxed and refreshed for work is not to play, and no work is well and finely done unless it, too, is a form of play.” ~ Alan Watts
“This is the real secret of life. To be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play." ~ Alan Watts
“We are simply celebrating here. Existence is not a journey, it is a celebration. Think of it as a celebration, as a delight, as a joy! Don't turn it into a suffering, don't turn it into a duty, a work. Let it be play.” ~ Osho
And, of course, Art is the highest form of Play
Garden in the Mind
The thematic memes below are for the Gypsy Scholar playing (6/8/20) the audio from a short film called “Garden” (from UCSC garden) featuring Prof. N.O. Brown reciting his “My Georgics," which also burred the line between work and play.