My favourite footnote

Writing about an Arden footnote in my previous post, I was reminded of my very favourite Arden footnote. The Arden Shakespeare editions are well known and loved for their lavish annotations. The one I like best, and which I have to admit in my memory grew to be much longer than it actually is, is from the 1964 edition of King Lear. There, Kent insults the courtly fad Oswald, and tells him: “I’ll make a sop o’th’moonshine of you” (2.2.30). The note explains that we are in a moonlit scene, and that Kent threatens to pierce Oswald with his sword in such a manner that the moonlight (or the reflection of the moon in a pond) will soak into him, as when a piece of toast or a wafer is set floating in a prepared drink. The note suggests an alternative reading as well, and then comes my favourite part, where it mentions that there actually existed a dish called ‘eggs in moonshine’ and proceeds to give us the recipe for it:

Eggs fried in oil or butter, covered with slices of onions and seasoned with verjuice, nutmeg and salt.

I tried it, of course. Delicious.

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2 thoughts on “My favourite footnote

  1. Mmmm, yes, it has a kind of cosy feel to it, and is mysterious at the same time… But your blog has a lovely name as it is!

    I for one only realized that what I thought was an earmark is much more commonly called a dog ear [a donkey’s ear in Dutch, by the way], after I had registered the domain! No regrets, though, since earmarks in my philosophy are a kind of early modern bookmarks — you knew that straight away, right?

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