This section presents an overview of what is known about Hall’s life, his background, education, family, his economic and social status, and religious affinities. His work and practice in Stratford-upon-Avon and the surrounding area are described (including, for example, the range in social status among his patients). A specially drawn map illustrates the catchment area of his work. Some brief examples of Hall’s cases and patients (including his conversations with them and his own reactions) will help to open up the casebook and whet the appetite for the reader to find out more. A critical analysis of the possible connections that might be made between Shakespeare’s own dramatisation of doctors (and medical language) and Hall’s practice concludes this part of the introduction. While gathering together and reshaping the basic biographical information about John Hall in relation to presenting the first, full, English translation and edition of his casebook, this section critiques, develops and moves beyond the mainstream literary and medical interest in Hall’s life and work. It has too often been the case that Hall’s medical practice has been considered in the shadow of Shakespeare’s dramatic portrayal of doctors. Wells here presents Hall afresh as a medical professional.

in John Hall, Master of Physicke
A casebook from Shakespeare's Stratford

This is the first complete English translation of the medical casebook of John Hall, Shakespeare’s son-in-law. Greg Wells has produced a groundbreaking new study which significantly refocuses our attention on John Hall’s scholarship, as well as his compassion. Hall’s community of patients, their illnesses and his treatments are all authoritatively represented. But so too is Hall’s own library. In looking again at Hall’s Latin manuscript, Wells has been able to identify Hall’s many borrowings from other medical textbooks, thereby offering a unique insight into the intellectual climate of early seventeenth-century Stratford-upon-Avon. We have been relying on an abridged version of Hall’s casebook for over three centuries. Wells corrects and augments all previous studies, and in so doing retrieves the hitherto unnoticed conversations that Hall had with his patients, his prayers for their well-being, and thanksgivings for their recovery. John Hall emerges as a scholar physician who was immersed in the best thinking and practice of his age, who regularly consulted sixty books within his easy reach in order to treat all levels of society. Presented in association with The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, this generously illustrated edition includes portraits of some of Hall’s patients, pictures of some of the houses he travelled to in order to cure them, of the herbs and plants he most frequently used, and of the kinds of medical equipment on which he relied.

This is the edition of John Hall’s medical casebook itself. This is the first complete English translation of the medical casebook of John Hall, Shakespeare’s son-in-law. Greg Wells has produced a groundbreaking new study which significantly refocuses our attention on Hall’s scholarship, as well as his compassion. Hall’s community of patients, their illnesses and his treatments are all authoritatively represented. But so too is Hall’s own library. In looking again at Hall’s Latin manuscript, Wells has been able to identify Hall’s many borrowings from other medical textbooks, thereby offering a unique insight into the intellectual climate of early seventeenth-century Stratford-upon-Avon.

in John Hall, Master of Physicke

John Hall’s manuscript is the one record we have of his authentic voice. This section describes the manuscript and summarises its history. But what do we mean by ‘a casebook’? The term as used by historians covers works of mixed and fluid genres. Hall’s work differs from the majority of casebooks because it represents his draft towards a book he never finished. It shows that a casebook can have an internal structure related to the chronologies of its composition as well as to the cases from which it draws. Hall is not unique in his substantial borrowing from Latin texts, though he does represent an extreme and very rare example. His manuscript is especially valuable because it represents a work in progress, an early modern physician’s mind in the process of thinking about his patients, his conversations with them and his treatments. This first complete English translation presents a highly readable work, full of human interest, insight and compassion. This section of the introduction also outlines the themes of Hall’s casebook and shows how Hall interacted with his patients. This section represents original scholarship in its new understanding of Hall’s manuscript, his Latin, and what it represents in an historical context.

in John Hall, Master of Physicke

Wells’s edition marks the first time that Hall’s extensive borrowings from Latin medical textbooks for the production of his own casebook have been thoroughly and compellingly identified. This section describes the methodology adopted to recreate Hall’s library, and the books and authors themselves are clearly listed. This identification of Hall’s working library sheds completely new light on Hall and is significant in several contexts. It allows us to understand when, why and how Hall acquired his books. His use of them in relation to his patients and how he wrote up his medical cases shows us how Hall used his library: to identify therapies for his patients during his working life, and then to turn his initial case notes into a draft for his own Latin textbook. This section situates Hall’s working library in the context of other early modern medical libraries and describes Hall’s use of books over time. Tables provide a list of books in Hall’s library and show his most frequently used sources. Wells is the first to present Hall’s casebook in terms of the library on which it relies, so this whole section represents a highly original contribution to the field.

in John Hall, Master of Physicke

This section makes clear the compelling case for a full, English translation of Hall. Historians have too easily taken for granted that Cooke’s seventeenth-century translation was both accurate and complete. It is not. Cooke’s translation contains both errors and omissions. For example Cooke misattributes the cure of the Earl of Northampton (case 137) to the Oxford physician Dr Clayton, rather than to Hall himself. Cooke also turns Hall’s conversations with his patients into brisk, radically abridged summaries, and loses much of Hall’s personal views on his relationships with his patients. Until now, anyone wanting to study John Hall has had to rely on Cooke’s 1679 edition (on which Joan Lane’s 1996 edition is also based). Wells’s book does not contain Hall’s Latin text, but annotations to the English text make Hall’s Latin borrowings from his sources clear. Wells’s editorial principles with regard to Hall’s abbreviations, punctuation and handling of pharmaceutical Latin are succinctly described, as are the principles that directed Wells’s own English translation.

in John Hall, Master of Physicke
Abstract only

This chapter brings three principal French intertexts (and some secondary ones) to bear on A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It first argues that Dream evokes a recent play comically adapting Italianate pastoral conventions, La Diane, by Nicolas de Montreux (1594). The next key intertext explored is Le proumenoir (1594), by Marie de Gournay, which offers a feminist slant on the histoire tragique as exemplified by her source, the Champs faëz of Claude de Taillemont. Gournay’s novel presents love as tragic, particularly for women as victims of male inconstancy, as in the legend of Theseus and Ariadne. Gournay introduces this exemplum through the Epithalamium of Catullus, where it counterpoints celebration of a mythical marriage – an effect matching the intrusion of sombre overtones on Shakespeare’s representation of marriage as comic fulfilment. Finally foregrounded is the relation between the burlesque ‘tragedy’ of Pyramus and Thisbe staged by Shakespeare’s Mechanicals and an anonymous Moralité, which illuminates the Mechanicals’ absurd approach to theatrical challenges. Also considered is a poetic reworking of Ovid’s narrative by Antoine de Baïf, which anticipates Shakespeare’s embellishment of this material with humanist trappings. These intertexts highlight the parodic potential Shakespeare exploited in insinuating the fragility of generic boundaries.

in The Shakespearean comic and tragicomic
Love’s Labour’s Lost and As You Like It

This chapter proposes that the three Shakespearean comedies set in France (Love’s Labour’s Lost, As You Like It, All’s Well That Ends Well) depend for their effect on particular perceptions and forms of knowledge concerning France on the part of contemporary audiences. The focus is on the earlier two plays, since All’s Well has been considered elsewhere. Love’s Labour’s Lost introduces insistent political allusions (mainly through the names of the characters), which nevertheless resist all efforts to detach them from their romantic-comic frame. The consequence is an unresolvable tension between comic and tragic tendencies that is focused in the unconventional conclusion. As You Like It might be supposed to reject the realistic in favour of the romantic by way of its exotic ‘French’ pastoral source – Thomas Lodge’s novel Rosalynde – but Lodge actually presents his setting with an insistence on material realities. Conversely, even as he downplays Lodge’s French specificity in favour of recognisable elements of ‘Englishness’, Shakespeare attaches to the French setting and characters a dimension of romance resulting in a destabilising doubleness: Arden/Ardennes, Robin Hood/Rowland de Boys.

in The Shakespearean comic and tragicomic
The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, Twelfth Night

This chapter treats three comedies dating from between 1596 (roughly) and 1604 as experiments in tragicomedy, broadly understood here as an uneasy juxtaposition of comic patterns fulfilled with an affirmation of tragic potential as encoded in the human condition and left suspended at the conclusions. The comic patterns are mainly of Italian origin, but certain tragically tending elements emerge more clearly through hitherto neglected French intertexts. One bearing especially on both Merchant and Measure is a Protestant allegorical morality by Henri de Barran, L’Homme justifié par Foy (1554), which dramatises the Reformation reading of Mankind as doomed by sinfulness according to the Old (Mosaic) Law and redeemable only by the New Law of Mercy. Mankind’s struggle is staged in terms especially evocative of the confrontation between Antonio and Shylock, but light is also shed on the fall, suffering and forgiveness of Angelo. The potentially tragic fate of the latter is also illuminated by the tragedy of Philanire, by Claude Roillet, whose French version presents particular intersections with Measure. Finally, it is argued that the tragicomic associations of Malvolio in Twelfth Night may have been enriched for audiences by knowledge of the contemporary life and writings of Pierre Victor Palma Cayet.

in The Shakespearean comic and tragicomic
French inflections

This book discusses Shakespeare’s deployment of French material within genres whose dominant Italian models and affinities might seem to leave little scope for French ones. It proposes specific, and unsuspected, points of contact but also a broad tendency to draw on French intertexts, both dramatic and non-dramatic, to inflect comic forms in potentially tragic directions. The resulting tensions within the genre are evident from the earliest comedies to the latest tragicomedies (or ‘romances’). An introduction establishes the French inflection of Italian modes and models, beginning with The Taming of the Shrew, as a compositional paradigm and the basis for an intertextual critical approach. Next, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is related to three French intertexts highlighting, respectively, its use of pastoral dramatic convention, its colouration by the histoire tragique and its parodic dramatisation of the Pyramus and Thisbe story. The third chapter interrogates the ‘French’ settings found in the romantic comedies, while the fourth applies French intertexts to three middle-to-late comedies as experiments in tragicomedy. Finally, the distinctive form given tragicomedy (or ‘romance’) in Shakespeare’s late production is set against the evolution of tragicomedy in France and related to French intertexts that shed new light on the generic synthesis achieved—and the degree of bricolage employed in achieving it.