Dr Simon Forman: A Most Notorious Physician

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9780099289623: Dr Simon Forman: A Most Notorious Physician

Simon Forman was one of the most extraordinary personalities of Elizabethan and Jacobean London.

Charismatic, 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 sundry.

Constantly 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 murder.

Also 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.

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Review:

Simon Forman is best remembered as an Elizabethan doctor and astrologer who had the good fortune to record his impressions of Shakespeare's Macbeth, Cymbeline and The Winter's Tale as an avid theatregoer. As Judith Cook points out in her captivating biography Dr Simon Forman: A Most Notorious Physician, besides Forman's value to Shakespeare scholars, he has been described as "nothing but a quack and a charlatan, an astrologer who purported to practise medicine, a fellow of bad repute especially where women were concerned". However, after carefully studying the wealth of obscure diaries and manuscripts that Forman left behind after his death in 1611, Cook has built up a fascinating and very different version of Forman, who was by the standards of his day "a careful practitioner of medicine", and "a man of many parts: showman, caring doctor, womaniser, credulous with regard to the occult, yet always questing after knowledge". The result is a marvellous evocation of Forman's day-to-day life, from a poor background that denied him a university education, to his struggle with the Royal College of Physicians and ultimate triumph as one of the most respected and consulted doctors to Elizabethan London's rich and wealthy.

With great panache Cook moves from detailed accounts of Forman's medical and astrological practises, to his extensive womanising, recorded in his "halek notes", or record of sexual conquests, ranging from his first shadowy marriage, through his tragic relationship with the Catholic Recusant Avisa Allen, Emilia Lanier (thought by many to be Shakespeare's Dark Lady), and his young wife who bore him a son in middle age. This is a delightful study of one of the more colourful figures of the time, that wears its learning lightly and offers a fascinating account of everyday life in Elizabethan England. --Jerry Brotton

Review:

"Brilliant, written with wit and relish, packed with detail" The Times "Judith Cook writes lucidly about Forman and his idiosyncrasies... Her knowledge of the period is extensive and places this strange and fascinating man convincingly in his dramatic times" Daily Mail "An intriguing and lively study" Independent on Sunday "Her research is thorough and intriguing... Her book enters teh Elizabethan world in media res so that th reader is immediately surrounded by it" The Times

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 192 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Simon Forman was one of the most extraordinary personalities of Elizabethan and Jacobean London. Charismatic, 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 sundry. Constantly 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 murder. Also 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. Bookseller Inventory # AB99780099289623

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 192 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Simon Forman was one of the most extraordinary personalities of Elizabethan and Jacobean London. Charismatic, 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 sundry. Constantly 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 murder. Also 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. Bookseller Inventory # AB99780099289623

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Book Description Vintage, 2002. Book Condition: New. Simon Forman was one of the extraordinary personalities of Elizabethan and Jacobean London. Like most doctors, he was also an astrologer, reading the stars for all and sundry. This book uncovers Forman's private world, that of a compulsive womaniser who kept a coded diary, a record of promiscuity as colourful as the journals of Pepys and Boswell. Num Pages: 240 pages, facsimiles, , portraits. BIC Classification: BGH; MBX; VXFA. Category: (U) Tertiary Education (US: College). Dimension: 198 x 130 x 16. Weight in Grams: 188. . 2002. Paperback. . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099289623

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Book Description 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 130mm x 198mm x 16mm. Paperback. Charismatic, volatile and ambitious, Simon Forman rose from a poor country upbringing in Wiltshire, via a slave-apprenticeship in Salisbury and a spell as a servant in Oxford to become one.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 240 pages. 0.190. Bookseller Inventory # 9780099289623

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Book Description Vintage. Book Condition: New. Simon Forman was one of the extraordinary personalities of Elizabethan and Jacobean London. Like most doctors, he was also an astrologer, reading the stars for all and sundry. This book uncovers Forman's private world, that of a compulsive womaniser who kept a coded diary, a record of promiscuity as colourful as the journals of Pepys and Boswell. Num Pages: 240 pages, facsimiles, , portraits. BIC Classification: BGH; MBX; VXFA. Category: (U) Tertiary Education (US: College). Dimension: 198 x 130 x 16. Weight in Grams: 188. . 2002. Paperback. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780099289623

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