The World Turned Upside Down, or The Comical Metamorphoses. London: E. Ryland, ca. 1770 (Cotsen 360). The boys crown their teacher with a dunce cap and horse him in preparation for a beating.
School boys in classrooms
A fish angling on a river bank
The World Turned Upside-Down Illustrated in 16 Wonderful Pictures. London: W. Darton, ca. 1830. (Cotsen 3883).
Hard working sheep and bears
Die verkehrte Welt in Bildern und Reimen., plate 2. Stuttgart: Hoffmann’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1850. (Cotsen in process 6344921).
A girl or a nutcracker in the nursery
The Taylors of Ongar, Signor Topsy-Turvy’s Wonderful Magic Lantern. (Cotsen 7411). This savage little poem was also the work of Ann Taylor Gilbert.”
A hare, a turkey, and a tortoise in the kitchen
Committing sedition instead of being nutrition,
THEY CAN ALL TURN THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN!
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s showstopping number, “Yorktown: The World Turned Upside Down,” uses examples that resonate deeply with a contemporary audience instead of the symbols of subversion from below that circulated in popular prints (and even earlier in the margins of medieval manuscripts). Just a few of the traditional role reversals are featured above, so here are two “World Turned Upside Down” prints to show more of them.