The True Fool

These Yale editions bring a simple joy. Glad to start the year off with Twelfth Night. I am squarely in the category of those who prefer to read Shakespeare in the book. The roars of laughter that spill over from those in an audience eager to signal that they understand the jokes are as irritating at a Shakespeare performance as they are at Beckett’s plays. As Virginia Woolf writes in her essay on Twelfth Night, there will be little in common between a performance of Malvolio and the fantastic, complex creature we have conjured ourselves.

From the Yale notes we get the following: ‘198 Like aqua-vite with a midwife There is no certain explanation of the phrase. Either midwives used distilled liquor to induce labour, or midwives by tradition drank excessively.’

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