John Hall, Master of Physicke: A Casebook from Shakespeare's Stratford by Greg Wells, edited by Paul Edmondson

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This book is the first complete edition and English translation of John Hall's medical casebook, written between 1611 and 1635. Hall's original manuscript, modestly titled A Little Book of Cures, was written in Latin and documented 178 of the physician's cases. Hall's casebook shows he was treating people at all levels of society in Stratford-upon-Avon and the surrounding area. Within a few pages of attending to aristocratic patients, including the Earl of Northampton's eldest son, Spencer, the godson of Queen Elizabeth I, for 'desperate quinsy' (throat abscess) and later pleurisy, Hall records treating a local glove-maker, Robert Butler, for kidney stones, and Mrs Archer, a Stratford-upon-Avon malt dealer, for loss of speech and facial convulsions.

Dr Wells' translation reveals, for the first time, the conversations Hall had with his patients, his prayers for their recovery, and his thanksgivings for their cures, as well as references to the medical books that Hall was borrowing from, indicating that the physician was a well-read scholar who had a significant library of books, most of which came from continental Europe. Colour illustrations from the Trust's 1597 edition of John Gerard's The Herball complement the text.

Published by Manchester University Press in association
with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
ISBN: 9781526134530

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