Strange Doodles in the Margins of Medieval Books: Critical Linking, May 14, 2017

Sponsored by GINNY MOON by Benjamin Ludwig, published by Park Row Books.


“The margins are full of images of disembodied body parts, plants, animals, even portraits of cross-eyed kings, which relate to the main body of text and act as a mnemonic for the reader,” Greene says. “Even though you open the manuscript knowing it is a medical text designed for practical use, nothing quite prepares you for seeing a disembodied leg, posterior, or penis pointing at salient parts of the text!”

In Arderne’s texts the marginalia has a clear purpose, but in other manuscripts the meaning of the drawings can be indecipherable. There are countless examples of unusual marginalia—monkeys playing the bagpipes, centaurs, knights in combat with snails, naked bishops, and strange human-animal hybrids that seem to defy categorization.

I love marginalia, especially of the medieval manuscript variety. It seems like we look at historic periods of time with an idea that everyone was so serious and mature and then you see butts in the margin.


Back in 2014, EW ran a print guide to all of Christie’s detective novels to highlight the themes and threads sewn throughout. Although the binge below includes mild spoilers, it’s chockfull of highlights and fun illustrations for both long-time readers and the unenlightened. Click on the image to read the full-size PDF, and be sure to get caught up before Murder on the Orient Express returns to theaters on Nov. 10.

For those of you who want to blow through all of Agatha Christie asap.


As you might expect, the athletic performance of such an eclectic group of creatives was a bit of a mixed bag. While some members of the team, including Arthur Conan Doyle, were quite proficient at cricket, others were not so athletically inclined. One showed up in pajamas, and Barrie discovered that another didn’t know which side of the bat to hit with.

Though he was a good player, Conan Doyle had his share of mishaps, too—like the time he accidentally set himself on fire while playing a non-Allahakbarries match. He was up to bat, and the pitch hit him in the thigh, striking a box of matches he had in his pocket.

Men of literature had a cricket team, and it goes about as well as you’d expect.


Britt David Magnet Academy in Columbus, Georgia, holds an annual “Millionaire Bash” to celebrate kindergartners who read 1 million words during the school year. The kids get dressed up, arrive at school in a limo, and sign autographs for the assembled parents. This year, one millionaire kid in particular is going viral after his uncle tweeted out photos of his sweet outfit.

Come because hearing about kindergartners reading 1 million words is cool but stay because LOOK AT THIS KID’S SWEET STYLE!