The Egg Codex



by Jessica Sequeira

“Empedocles remarked that the height of the heavens was less than its breadth, the universe having the shape of an egg.”

Cocoa was originally called by the Incas kakawatl, which researchers believe derives from kawa, meaning “egg”.

Cadbury creme egg.

In a 1953 radio interview, Evelyn Waugh was asked “What painters do you admire most?” He answered “Augustus Egg I’d put among the highest.” Egg’s paintings often took a humorous look at their subjects, as in his Queen Elizabeth discovers she is no longer young (1848).

Gaius Octavius Egg

Nabokov, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight:



— ‘Egg’ should never surpass 1 syllable in any language. It ruins the ovoid simplicity.

— Huevo?

Joyce, Ulysses:

People do not know how dangerous lovesongs can be, the auric egg of Russell warned occultly.

Chesterton, St. Thomas Aquinas:

Against all this the philosophy of St. Thomas stands founded on the universal common conviction that eggs are eggs. The Hegelian may say that an egg is really a hen, because it is a part of an endless process of Becoming; the Berkelian may hold that poached eggs only exist as a dream exists, since it is quite as easy to call the dream the cause of the eggs as the eggs the cause of the dream; the Pragmatist may believe that we get the best out of scrambled eggs by forgetting that they ever were eggs, and only remembering the scramble. But no pupil of St. Thomas needs to addle his brains in order adequately to addle his eggs; to put his head at any peculiar angle in looking at eggs, or squinting at eggs, or winking the other eye in order to see a new simplification ofeggs. The Thomist stands in the broad daylight of the brotherhood of men, in their common consciousness that eggs are not hens or dreams or mere practical assumptions; but things attested by the Authority of the Senses, which is from God.

English comedy clip

2:45 “eggsbox 360”

Eggenberg Palace, Graz


Anthony Burgess, Earthly Powers (the characters are on a cruise ship):

At Gibraltar embarked the Bishop of Gibraltar. He was in the bar before dinner as we eased our way away from the Detached Mole with hoots and moans, the great rock to starboard under a sumptuous sky of mauve and gamboge and smashed eggs, the sun’s upper tip burning Willis’s Farm.

Goose egg addling: “In order to work effectively, addling must be conducted in a manner that does not arouse the suspicion of the goose, and must not change the odor, appearance or texture of the egg.”

A curate’s egg describes something that is mostly or partly bad, but partly good.

The phrase from soup to nuts actually comes from a Latin phrase “from the egg to the apples” (“ab ovo usque ad mala”).

According to Bandai, the name “Tomagatchi” is a portmanteau  combining the Japanese word “たまご” (tamago), which means “egg”, and the English word “watch”.


Agatha Christie, The Mysterious Affair at Styles:

His head was exactly the shape of an egg, and he always perched it a little on one side… The neatness of his attire was almost incredible; I believe a speck of dust would have caused him more pain than a bullet wound.

When Adorno was living in exile in Los Angeles he described a short-order cook at Teddy’s Café as a “juggler with fried-eggs” Adorno also wrote a letter to his parents when he arrived. “The beauty of the landscape is so without comparison even a hard-boiled European like me is overwhelmed.”

— Naturally, given the context, I read this as “hard-boiled egg”.

— His shell must have been tough to crack.

Roald Dahl, BFG:

Sophie peered into the jar and there, sure enough, she saw the faint translucent outline of something about the size of a hen’s egg. There was just a touch of colour in it, a pale sea-green, soft and shimmering and very beautiful. There it lay, this small oblong sea-green jellyfish thing, at the bottom of the jar, quite peaceful, but pulsing gently, the whole of it moving in and out ever so slightly, as though it were breathing.

“It’s moving!” Sophie cried. “It’s alive!”

Coleridge, letter to Thomas Poole:

So much by way of rant. I have eaten three eggs, swallowed sundries of tea and bread and butter, purely for the purpose of amusing myself!


THE HERNE’S EGG. London: Macmillan, 1938. Of Yeats’s drama written after his encounter with the nô, this work, which may be seen as a dramatised working through of the philosophical system codified in A Vision, is the least derivative of, and the least like in its effect, the classical Japanese theatre… Even those critics most inclined to find lessons from the nô behind Yeats’s middle- and late-drama have reserved comment, or have written of ‘assimilation’ rather than of ‘influence’.

Wikipedia synopsis of The Killing of an Egg (Dutch title Ei om Zeep, literally “Egg for Soap”):

An animated short produced by Paul Driessen and Nico Crama in the Netherlands in 1977. The film starts with a bald, obese man in a bright yellow shirt preparing to eat breakfast, a soft boiled egg. As he taps the shell with his spoon, a voice (in heavily accented English) says “Hey, who is it?” As the man continues to tap, it becomes clear the voice is coming from the egg. The man continues tapping away over the egg’s protests, then gets carried away and ends up smashing the egg with his fists, silencing the voice. He has no sooner stopped than he hears a tapping from outside his home. He says, in a voice identical to that from the egg, “Hey, who is it?” He sees no one at the door, but the tapping continues, and the unseen force starts smashing the roof and walls, until the whole house comes down over the man’s horrified objections.

Grossmith, Diary of a Nobody:

Carrie arranged with Borset, the butterman, and ordered a pound of fresh butter, and a pound and a half of salt ditto for kitchen, and a shilling’s worth of eggs.

April 6.—Eggs for breakfast simply shocking; sent them back to Borset with my compliments, and he needn’t call any more for orders.

Linaria vulgaris

Found throughout North America in waste places such as roadsides. Invasive alien.

Uses and Parts Used:

Used in tea as a strong laxative and diuretic for treatment of jaundice, dropsy, enteritis and skin diseases.

Harry Mathews, “Their words, for you”, The Human Country:

Another morning, another egg. The sky was up early. It had rained all night: to you and me sleeping, the storm was a delight. In the east, morning clouds are building a kingdom of red and silver. Time for you to get up! Come into the kingdom of morning delight and come as king! Come into the omelet of morning delight, and come as egg!

You can’t make an omelet without breaking half a dozen of the other. Take six eggs… Eggs are things — eggs were things: have an omelet. Have a little bread with it too.

Arun Kolatkar:


About the Author:

Jessica Sequeira lives and writes in Buenos Aires.