25 January 2017

In the Realm of Useless Footnotes III

In the first chapter of Peter Pan, while reckoning up the costs of raising children with his wife, Mr Darling mentions mumps, measles, German measles (rubella), and whooping cough (pertussis). My edition of the text, which appeared in 2005, footnotes each of these diseases with a description of its symptoms. 

It took me a dull moment to realize why the editor felt the need to gloss these once common childhood diseases for her readers. Ah, once common. Then I could only laugh out loud. It isn't every day that a work of fantasy supplies evidence of the effectiveness of vaccination. 


J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan, with introduction and notes by Amy Billone, Barnes and Noble Books (New York: 2005).

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