The Early Modern Commons

Gossip and Nonsense

Recent Posts

Curioser and curioser

11 October 2018

In a 1640 dictionary of linguistic curiosities, the royal interpreter Antoine Oudin gives definitions of a number of peculiar expressions for the benefit of foreigners seeking to master...

Obscenity and nonsense

6 October 2018

In a nonsense speech from the early seventeenth century, the comedian known as Bruscambille reports how pigs dressed in the Turkish fashion launch a naval battle on the sail of a windmill...

The Spirit of ’68

25 September 2018

I was in Paris in May 2018, 50 years too late to witness the famous student protests and general strike that ensued. Under the pretext of giving a talk on nonsense at the Sorbonne,...

Spitting frogs

6 September 2018

In 1939, a group of surrealists produced a collaborative novel, including several stories by the English artist Leonora Carrington. One of these, ‘The Skeleton’s Holiday’,...