John Hall, Master of Physicke

A casebook from Shakespeare's Stratford

By Greg Wells and Paul Edmondson

John Hall, Master of Physicke


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3453-0
  • Pages: 360
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £20.00
  • Published Date: February 2020
  • BIC Category: LITERARY CRITICISM / Shakespeare, MEDICAL / History, DRAMA / Shakespeare, Literature & literary studies / Literature: history & criticism, Early Modern Literature, History of Medicine, Literature, Literary studies: c 1400 to c 1600, Literature & literary studies / Shakespeare studies & criticism, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: c 1500 to c 1800


This is the first complete edition and English translation of John Hall's Little Book of Cures, a fascinating medical casebook composed in Latin around 1634-5. John Hall (1575-1635) was Shakespeare's son-in-law (Hall married Susanna Shakespeare in 1607), and based his medical practice in Stratford-upon-Avon. Readers have never before had access to a complete English translation of John Hall's casebook, which contains fascinating details about his treatment of patients in and around Stratford.

Until Wells's edition, our knowledge of Hall and his practice has had to rely only on a partial, seventeenth-century edition (produced by James Cooke in 1657 and 1679, and re-printed with annotation by Joan Lane as recently as 1996). Cooke's edition significantly misrepresents Hall by abridging his manuscript (Cooke removed Hall's conversations with his patients), by errors of translation, and by combining Hall's work with examples from Cooke's own medical practice.


'a remarkable piece of scholarship that goes beyond quaintness and unintended humour (no pun intended) to offer a convincing composite portrait of a society pitched between atavism and modernity.'
Brian Morton, TLS


Foreword by Professor Sir Stanley Wells C.B.E.
1. Introducing John Hall, Master of Physicke
2. Recreating John Hall's library
3. John Hall's manuscript
4. Textual introduction
5. John Hall's Little Book of Cures
Appendix 1 John Hall's working library (a list of his regular, medical sources)
Appendix 2 Glossary of medical and pharmaceutical terms


Greg Wells practised as a consultant in public health within the N.H.S. He received his MA and PhD from The University of Warwick

Paul Edmondson is Head of Research for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

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