“Halles Lanfranke” and its most excellent and learned expositive table

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This paper discusses the lexicographical contributions of John Halle (1529–1568), a surgeon and a Protestant poet from Maidstone, Kent. Halle was a member of progressive group of elite surgeons intent on improving the profession’s prestige by educating its members and by producing vernacular translations of surgical books. Halle’s major contribution was his translation of Lanfranc of Milan’s Chirurgia parva, an important medieval surgical manual. Entitled A most excellent and learned vvoorke of chirurgerie, called Chirurgia parua Lanfranci (1565), Halle’s translation garnered high praise, prompting the physician William Cuningham to suggest that Halle’s contributions in clarifying Lanfranc’s text were such that the book be called “Halles Lanfranke.” The glossary or “expositive table” compiled by Halle is an important early example of medical lexicography.


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