Codpiece Rebel

The Codpiece Flopped

Zaria Gorvett | BBC Future | 4th February 2024

Upper-class Renaissance men were briefly obsessed with codpieces — “pretty personal palaces for penises” — shaped like “spirals, orbs, upwards-curling sausages”. Henry VIII used them to bolster accounts of his fecundity — a 1536 portrait “abashed and annihilated” viewers. Surviving pieces are housed in the Museum of London, “initially classified as shoulder pads by a starchy Victorian curator” (3,500 words)

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Marxist Rebel

Samuel Rubinstein | UnHerd | 6th February 2024

“Little Englander” E.P. Thompson was a maverick Marxist — his writing united hard-nosed critiques of industrial capitalism with a belief in the power of the individual and faith in English common sense. His Marxism was not oppressive — people, in his view, “were not Pavlovian dogs; they did not salivate their creeds in response to economic stimuli; they loved and hated, argued, thought, and made moral choices” (2,900 words)

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