Monday, April 13, 2009

Images of the Carnivalesque

One possible thread we might follow in our discussion of Bakhtin's notion of medieval folk humor (the carnivalesque) is how Erasmus's The Praise of Folly (according to Bakhtin, a literary example of "high " intellectual, collective laughter) compares to any visual representations of folly or carnival during the period. Something that came to mind is Pieter Bruegel the elder's Netherlandish Proverbs (1559, see above) in which Bruegel paints over one hundred scenes of common proverbs on one canvas. The result is a kind of symbolic chaos. Wikipedia offers an overview of the various proverbs-come-alive, with details explaining each scene. Bruegel's The Wedding Dance (1566, the one in our HUST classroom on the back wall by the windows) might also help us think about the relationship between carnival, satire, the Reformation and early Renaissance humanist thought. How do you think Bakhtin would interpret the paintings? Erasmus?

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe you read the whole hybrid post, it feels so long with the straight text blocks.

    Thank you for blogging.