Dr. Simon Forman: A Most Notorious Physician PDF/EPUB

Dr. Simon Forman: A Most Notorious Physician PDF/EPUB Simon Forman was one of the most extraordinary personalities of Elizabethan and Jacobean LondonCharismatic, volatile and ambitious, he was doctor to the giants of the theatre and his playbook contains the first eye witness accounts of Shakespeare s plays Like most doctors he was also an astrologer, reading the stars for all and sundryConstantly on the fringes of great events and court intrigues, his name has been linked with Sir Walter Raleigh s mysterious group, the School of Night and with the notorious Overbury poisoning case, in which the beautiful Countess of Essex was accused of murderAlso uncovered is Forman s private world, that of a compulsive womaniser who kept a coded diary, never fully deciphered before, a record of promiscuity as colourful as the journals of Pepys and Boswell A great companion to a book like William Lilly s Christian Anthology Christian Anthology gives you an insight into the what what exactly was it that astrologers did in the 16th 17th centuries Pretty much what astrologers do today as it turns out, in terms of the techniques and practice Dr Simon Forman a most notorious physician gives youinsight into the how how did a man go about earning a living as an astrologer in Elizabethan England And you couldn t pick acolo A great companion to a book like William Lilly s Christian Anthology Christian Anthology gives you an insight into the what what exactly was it that astrologers did in the 16th 17th centuries Pretty much what astrologers do today as it turns out, in terms of the techniques and practice Dr Simon Forman a most notorious physician gives youinsight into the how how did a man go about earning a living as an astrologer in Elizabethan England And you couldn t pick acolourful character around whom to illustrate such a history According to Judith Cook, Forman was a fantasist, in contrast to his sombre serious public persona, who invented his family history to include Lords and links to Scottish royalty Determined to become a medical practitioner, though lacking the means to gain the qualifications required to ease his passgae through the stringent criteria applied by the College of Physicians, he chose as mentor an astrologer Francis Cox also practised necromancy and magic, and was reputed to be a charlatan, an unwise choice perhaps Forman persevered and set up a thriving practice But time and time again he was arrested or fined, for practising with a licence He moved to London, to escape his principal persecutor one Giles Estcourt and proceeded to have lots of adventures with the rich and famous and not so rich and famous It was in London he lost his virginity at the ripe old age of 29, upon which he set about making up for lost time with great fortitude and enthusiasm Dr Simon Forman tells both the story of a extraordinary individual and the history of medical practice in the Elizabethan age It is written in a light engaging style and is a pleasure to read, being one of my sources for A Plague of Sinners , in which appears the astrologer Owen Price Simon Forman A Most Notorious Physician is written by Judith Cook who wrote a book I very much enjoyed about the community of writers in the 17th century called Roaring Boys.Simon Foreman was a physician in the late 17th century who practiced despite not having all the official training and none of the official paperwork He focused largely on astrological humoral causes of illness and largely proscribed changes in lifestyle, diet and various concoctions of herbs though sometimes it could Simon Forman A Most Notorious Physician is written by Judith Cook who wrote a book I very much enjoyed about the community of writers in the 17th century called Roaring Boys.Simon Foreman was a physician in the late 17th century who practiced despite not having all the official training and none of the official paperwork He focused largely on astrological humoral causes of illness and largely proscribed changes in lifestyle, diet and various concoctions of herbs though sometimes it could become a littlepeculiar, like burnt dog mess He also slept with many of his patients, even after he had married We know all this because he kept a diary and detailed case notes There are definite links between the worlds of players and Dr Forman Both lived and worked south of the Thames, where they were safe from much of interference from the City of London Not only that, but Forman had many theatrical people in his casebooks, from actors, managers and even the woman who some, like Rowe propose to be Shakespeare s dark lady.What the book succeeds in doing, is paint a picture of the world and something of the character of Forman himself.Simon Forman is not portrayed simply as a cynical hack but an optimistic man with a fierce desire for knowledge He fought for knowledge his whole life, being constantly turned away from it by life Everything he learns, he does it by determined effort That a lot of his knowledge seems silly to us now, lessons of astrology and humoral theory, is irrelevant, in an age where Queen Elizabeth would consult Dr Dee, he mastered what there was to know Not only that, the extensive use of documenting, the many casebooks and the written additions he made in the books he read, means that he at least tried to systematise his knowledge and rely on what worked for him We can pick out the funny cures but a lot of what he proscribed was common sense or at the very least not harmful in itself Despite all this, Forman is not an angel He is vain as someone who wrote so much about himself has to be , he was fond of showing off, he could treat his closest relationships with an unusual coldness and he slept around a lot The codeword he used for this was halek There is a lot of haleking going on in this book, even after he was married In some ways, he reminds me of Samuel Pepys who came about fifty years after Both men had a drive to know, both had full social lives, both had irresponsible and sometimes just cruel sexual lives and both recorded themselves voraciously Forman wrote that a man was beyond old age when he hit his 50s, with such a short lifespan, a lust for life seems a noble thing.Although the book was concise, well written and full of interesting detail, there was a feeling that in relying on the diaries so much, it becomes a little monotonous Even diaries by the best diarists are a bit of a slog as reading a life in that form feels like one thing after another, I d have liked a littleshaping in the telling.All that aside, this was a fantastic book and I recommend anyone to find out a little bitabout this fascinating individual in whatever way they can Simon Foreman was a quack doctor living in London during Shakespeare s time Although constantly being arrested and penalised by the authorities for his unorthodox practices, which is quite amusing given how primitive normal Elizabethan medicine was , he believed in what he did and always managed to claw his way back He eventually became a successful and famous physician with a large clientele of often well known people, including one of the players in Shakespeare s company of actors, so h Simon Foreman was a quack doctor living in London during Shakespeare s time Although constantly being arrested and penalised by the authorities for his unorthodox practices, which is quite amusing given how primitive normal Elizabethan medicine was , he believed in what he did and always managed to claw his way back He eventually became a successful and famous physician with a large clientele of often well known people, including one of the players in Shakespeare s company of actors, so he would undoubtedly have known the bard himself Foreman kept extensive and detailed notes and records about all his patients, as well as many journals The journals are famous for their explicit halek notes, halek being a code word for sex, in which he describes his many sexual encounters, often with female patients A fascinating read with plenty of anecdotes about the Elizabethan court as well as everyday life in London The mundane becomes the extraordinary to someone reading it 400 years later Once you ve read this, you ll never complain about the NHS again.

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