Event—Public Programming

Finding Out Moonshine: Early Modern Almanacs and Drama

In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bottom demands that Quince refer to an almanac to “find out moonshine! Find out moonshine!” These widely read texts in the period include both magical and experiential forms of knowledge. Katherine Walker’s work reads dramatic engagement with almanacs and other how-to manuals to discover what they reveal about the period’s understanding of categories such as “science,” “experience,” and “knowledge.” Her talk will focus on the Newberry’s wide-ranging collection of almanacs, arguing that Shakespeare and other playwrights use these texts as tools for engaging with wider epistemological issues.