The World Turned Upside Down


Piece originally published at Public Domain Review.

A series of woodcuts from an 18th century chapbook entitled The World Turned Upside Down or The Folly of Man, Exemplified in Twelve Comical Relations upon Uncommon Subjects. As well as the amusing woodcuts showing various reversals (many revolving around the inversion of animal and human relations) there is also included a poem on the topic. The chapbook is reproduced in the wonderful Chapbooks of the Eighteenth Century (1882) edited by John Ashton, which brings together hundreds of facsimiles of 18th century chapbooks upon a huge range of subjects.

No title (children caring for their parents)

No title (not sure what is happening here, perhaps two fools carrying a nobleman in stocks?)

The ox turned farmer

Old soldier turned nurse

The reward of roguery – or the roasted cook

The duel of the palfries

The mad squire and his fatal hunting

The ox turned butcher

Gallantry – a la mode – or the lovers catched by the bird

The honest ass and miller

The horse turned groom

The water wonder or the fishes lords of the creation

The sun, moon, stars and earth transposed

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