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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The biblical identity politics of the Demerara Slave Rebellion
The British missionary enterprise disseminated the Bible across the empire with often unintended consequences. The reception of the Protestant Scriptures among colonial subjects was anything but passive. Readers and hearers appropriated scriptural texts in their own distinctive, even subversive ways. Surviving sources, however, are often less revealing about this process than we might like, and it can be hard to get beyond the voice of the missionary to that of the native convert. This chapter explores a unique set of sources: the trial records of the London Missionary Society (LMS) missionary John Smith, who was prosecuted (and died in prison) for allegedly ‘exciting the negroes to rebellion’ in the sugar colony of Demerara in 1823. Smith and his black congregants were cross-questioned at length about the use and abuse of the Bible. The records offer a unique window on the use of the Bible in missionary chapels, its reception among enslaved hearers, and the sensitivities of colonial authorities. It was also emblematic of a larger shift – the growing identification of black Protestants with Old Testament Israel, and the problematising of Britain’s identity as a new Israel.
The concluding afterword assesses the contribution of the preceding chapters to current debates about the roles of science and religion in shaping notions of identity, genealogy and legacy in the nineteenth century. Drawing on examples from various parts of the globe, the chapter posits the career of the American scientist, racist and biblical apologist Alexander Winchell as emblematic of some of the new directions and questions raised by this volume. The issues of identity and genealogy which pervade Winchell’s ethno-biblical science, and its enduring legacy, resonate with many of the topics interrogated by the volume. The preceding chapters confirm just how significant the Bible has been in the manufacturing and moulding of various identities. Lines of descent were also critical to the task of securing and stabilising identities. Whether human languages were of monogenetic or polygenetic origin exercised the minds of numerous students of philology. The use of the labels Hamitic, Japhetic and Semitic to designate lines of linguistic ancestry discloses how intimately connected the early science of language was with biblical thought-forms. The chapter concludes by exploring the pervasive legacy of the ideas and movements scrutinised in the volume in the present day.
Chapter 2 provides an account of the emergence of the legal category of alien and questions the idea that there is a clear distinction between the categories of subject and alien in colonial contexts. The legal category of alien contributed to the institutionalisation of a hierarchy of people in a context of British colonial expansion. Immigration laws passed in the colonies which targeted racialised subjects were at times clumsily disguised through the use of apparently race-neutral provisions. Such concealment of racism was in the service of maintaining the lie of the unity of the British Empire. In the early 1900s, mirroring immigration legislation in the colonies, the 1905 Aliens Act was passed in Britain with the purpose of preventing the entry of poor Jewish people fleeing persecution in Russia and Eastern Europe. Although British subjects in the colonies were not its targets, it was a product of the British Empire and legislators did not forget its mechanisms when it came to the task of drafting future immigration legislation targeted at racialised colony and Commonwealth citizens.
Chapter 2 first details the framework of analysis, ‘self-perpetuating technologies of religious synthesis’, a theory which links combinations of societal catalysts to the development of specific religious trends. The ethnographic data illustrates that these ‘technologies’ are triggered in reaction to societal catalysts, resulting in religious transformations that function as ‘self-perpetuating mechanisms’ for the wider religious tradition. The individual ‘technologies’ are drawn from two discourses: first, the ‘politics of syncretism’, incorporating appropriation, absorption, acculturation, transfiguration, hybridisation and transfiguring hybridisation; and second, a broadening interpretation of Hobsbawm and Ranger’s ‘invention of tradition’, including the reinvention, reinterpretation, inversion and Sinification of tradition. The chapter then details essential information concerning the historical development of Singapore and Malaysia’s secular and religious landscapes. In highlighting Japanese massacres in both locations during the Second World War; religious harmony, urban redevelopment, the Master Plan for land use of 1965 and the subsequent destruction of cemeteries in Singapore vis-à-vis Malay ‘special rights’ and the active promotion of Malay interests under the New Economic Policy (1971) and the National Development Policy (1990), a diverse selection of societal catalysts later incorporated into the broader analysis are introduced. The chapter concludes with a summary of the book’s structure and chapter outlines.