John Pringle's Correspondence with Albrecht von Haller
Studia Halleriana
Herausgegeben von Albrecht von Haller-Stiftung der Burgergemeinde Bern
Bd. IV

John Pringle's Correspondence with Albrecht von Haller

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Like many of his contemporaries, John Pringle (1707-1782), the author of a pioneering book on military medicine, physician to Queen Charlotte and King George III, president of the Royal Society, and friend of many notables in London (Benjamin Franklin was his frequent traveling companion), took his correspondences seriously. Without doubt his most important, spanning the years 1760-77, was with Albrecht von Haller (1708-1777) - poet, physician, and celebrated professor of anatomy, surgery, and botany at the University of Göttingen before returning in 1753 to his native Switzerland, where he held governmental posts, published a monumental physiology textbook and a multivolume medical bibliography, among many other works, and kept up a vast correspondence. Pringle emerged as his chief epistolary link to Britain.
The eighty-four surviving letters by Pringle, only snippets of which have ever been published, are here presented in full. Although the originals of Haller’s letters were destroyed, paraphrases of surviving excerpts from fifty-one of them fill some of the gaps.
The correspondence yields a wealth of information about Pringle, who still awaits a full biography, and it adds nuances to our more detailed knowledge of Haller as well. It makes clear, for example, Pringle’s vital role in Haller’s becoming dependent on opium in his final years.
Beyond the personal realm, the letters are especially valuable for their wide-ranging, often detailed discussions of medical theory and practice, but they also reflect and illuminate other aspects of the intellectual, cultural, and social life of the time. Since this was a great age of global exploration, marked by a new scientific interest and climaxed by James Cook’s famous voyages to the South Pacific, it is fitting that Pringle’s letters, drawing on conversations with Cook, Joseph Banks, Daniel Solander, and other voyagers, devote much space to these expeditions, documenting Europeans’ fascination with exotic regions and peoples. 


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Bibliographische Angaben

Reihe Studia Halleriana
Seitenanzahl 383 arabisch
Info 1 Farbtafel
Bindung Buch, Gebunden
ISBN 978-3-7965-1322-0
Erscheinungsdatum 01.01.1999


Otto Sonntag graduated from Harvard College, where he majored in chemistry, and received his Ph.D. from New York University, in history. He edited The Correspondence between Albrecht von Haller and Charles Bonnet and The Correspondence between Albrecht von Haller and Horace-Bénédict de Saussure, both of which also appeared in the Studia Halleriana series. He is currently associate dean for academic affairs at New York University’s College of Arts and Science.