Why I used two postludes as a prologue.
The documentary evidence, largely from Benjamin Ward Richardson’s biographical memoir, bearing on John Snow’s stroke; historical probability underlies Jane Weatherburn’s assembly of a portable ether apparatus; documentary evidence, historical probability, and historical possibility underpin visitations by two physicians and Weatherburn’s telegram to Thomas Snow; Snow’s Last Will and Testament and documentary evidence regarding his burial.
Constructing diagrams of Snow’s house at 18 Sackville Street by adapting frontage plans for 16 Sackville Street to match descriptions in The Survey of London and a photograph of the original residence; evidence underlying designation of various rooms and spaces on the resulting illustrations and floor plans; Snow’s shift from teetotalism to temperance due for health reasons; assistance from David Zuck.
The narrative form. Adaptation of three styles of modern fiction (as described by James Wood, How Fiction Works) to historiography: direct speech (analogous to quoted documentary evidence); reported or indirect speech (the historian as narrator of unquoted evidence); free indirect speech (no commonly used counterpart in historiography, but inspiration from Garrett Mattingly, Simon Schama, and my own previous writing about Edvard Munch). Examples of indirect and free indirect styles in the first postlude. Inspiration from Eliot Pattison.
Benjamin Ward Richardson’s falsifications of Snow’s epidemiological investigations during the 1854 London cholera outbreak; documentary evidence of this falsification concerning Snow’s south London study; why Richardson featured the Snow’s investigation of the Broad Street pump episode; Richardson’s “and the plague was stayed” riff on Snow’s accounts of what he did there; Richardson’s possible motives. Documentary evidence underlying Richardson’s internal speech in this postlude and criticism of Snow’s vegan/vegetarian “extremity”; use of the 1857 photograph of Snow as potential clues to his deteriorating health (based on a comment by David Zuck), framed within a worldview congenial with Richardson’s time and place.
The narrative form features combination of reported indirect and free indirect styles, but does include quoted documentary evidence (unlike the first postlude).
Click here to access the PDF in which I unpack Two Postludes as Prologue.