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Shakespeare and his World
Skickas inom vardagar. Rosa Praed, also known as Mrs.
Campbell Praed, was born in Australia, but lived sixty of her eighty-some-odd years in England. Of her forty novels, over half were based on her life in Australia, with subjects ranging through politics to the loneliness of living on a rural island -- and including the occult and the supernatural.
The Insane Root by Rosa Praed - FictionDB
Her interest in things outre grew so intense, in fact, that she participated in seances and automatic writing. The Insane Root begins with Isadas Pacha giving Doctor Marillier a package -- the doctor is to give it to the Emperor of Abraria if he dies from his operation. When the doctor inquires why the Pacha does not give it to his first secretary, he is told that Casper Ruel cannot be trusted.
The Pacha fears that Casper Ruel wishes to marry his niece, Rachel Isadas, for her social station, rather than for any real love for her. The Pacha feels that Casper Ruel should be tested in such a way as to protect the delicate Rachel. Rather strange idea to us but it's related to the so-called Theory of the Humors, which we'll talk about some more a little bit later - and then, crucially, Gerard lists, what he calls, the virtues of each plant.
Medicine, at this time, was fundamentally herbal medicine.
What doctors did, was they gathered plants, they mixed them up. They worked with people called Apothecaries, whose job it was to create drugs, as we would now say. But these were all based on mixtures of plants, and on lore, associations of plants, legends about plants, but also the experience of how people reacted to different plant concoctions. This wisdom was handed down the ages and remained remarkably unchanged for many, many centuries.
Now, scholars debate precisely what plant is being referred to by the insane root.
This is something that Gerard says can be used - certain parts of it can be used - in mitigating pain,. The insane root is only the first of a number of references to medicine and mental disturbance in the play. Find more online: Herbal by John Gerard.
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