About Carnivalesque

Those with some historical knowledge are often a little puzzled about why blog carnivals are called "carnivals" at all. As far as anyone can tell, it was largely chance: the very first one was called "Carnival of the Vanities", and the name seems to have stuck. Those concerned probably simply liked the feel of the name, and were thinking of modern carnivals with their moving processions and general exuberance, not of the World Turned Upside Down, Bakhtin, liminality, or any historical or anthropological theories at all.

Carnivalesque was named with both those influences in mind back in autumn 2004, in its original form as an early modernists' blog carnival. Why a carnival on this theme at all? There weren't so many history blogs back in 2004 and it wasn't at all clear that this one would be viable. But the blog carnival, it turned out, is highly adaptable – from very broad and/or popular topics through to much narrower audience niches.

Carnivalesque filled its particular niche so successfully that in 2005, it was decided to expand its coverage. Between July 2005 and November 2012, Carnivalesque ran monthly, alternating between early modern (c.1500-1800CE) and ancient & medieval topics (up to c.1500CE). However, because of long-running difficulties recruiting hosts for ancient/medieval editions, from January 2013 there will be eight editions per year, each of which will cover the full range of the ancient, medieval and early modern periods. We hope that at least 2-3 of these will be hosted by specialists in ancient or medieval fields, but cannot guarantee this.

The Mistresses of Misrule co-ordinate the carnival, selecting hosts and helping to publicise upcoming editions.

  • Sharon Howard lives in Yorkshire, UK; her main research interests are in 17-18th-century crime and women's history.
  • Julie Hofmann's research interests are early medieval. She's based in the USA.
  • Hannah Priest is a medievalist based in Manchester, UK. Her research interests include late medieval romance and popular literature, especially monsters.