The Audio CD

For the Exhibition in the Museum Strauhof 2006, we began to develop narrative and auditory avenues of access for visitors to the exhibition. There resulted auditory collages, similar to a radio play, that sought to convey something of Ruf's personality and his impact as a doctor and playwright. The script was based on excerpts of epistolary exchanges between and documents by Heinrich Bullinger, Ambrosius Blarer, Johannes Haller, Johannes Comander, Conrad Gessner and Johannes Gast. The title, Jakob Rufs Persönlichkeit, Der Arzt und seine Patienten as well as Der Autor und Regisseur were conceived as 'acoustical portraits', given that no pictorial portrait of Ruf survives.

In the course of reconstructing Ruf's life and work, we came across varied administrative documents from the sixteenth-century bureaucracy in the cities of Zurich, Constance, Lindau and Wil. Even in Zurich alone, these documents are inconsistent in orthography and written in a grammatically (especially syntactically) difficult style, which makes reading them rather difficult. In the course of working on this material, we learned something that was of importance for the conception of the audio CD: whoever not only reads the text, but also hears it, finds it easier to understand the context in which it was written. The ear offers the eye an aid when it comes to understanding the text. This realization led to the decision to make the seven archival documents pertaining to Ruf (all edited in vol. I) available as audio files on the CD. These readings do not have the ambition of reconstructing the historical acoustics. Rather, they are spoken in an approximation of early modern Alemannic appropriate to their context in Zurich. Changes in the speaker indicate a break in content.

The CD contains the following documents (* = newly discovered by our research team): The entry to Jakob Ruf in the Bürgerbuch (1539) - The *Missive from Constance (1526), which provides the first mention of Ruf - The *Berichtsprotokoll Root in the context from the second war at Kappel (1531) - the so-called Bestallungsurkunde (1552), which lays out the newly defined conditions of Ruf's service for the town of Zurich - the so-called *Fürtrag by Jakob Ruf - The so-called Gemächtsbrief of the marriage Jakob and Cleophe Ruf (this is their will from 1555) - the entry in Bullinger's Totenbuch, the register of deaths.

The Fürtrag (petition to the city council of Zurich) is worthy of special attention. Along with the Bestallungsurkunde, it counts among the most important documents testifying to Ruf's professional and political activity as a doctor and also offers insights into the city's health system around the middle of the sixteenth century. It is one of the few extant texts in Jakob Ruf's own hand and the only autobiographical witness of him that we have. Its genesis goes back to Ruf's personal appearance before the council of the city of Zurich on November 28, 1552, as an attempt was made to regulate his unusual double function as city surgeon and interim town physician (see the Bestallungsurkunde). The concrete occasion for the petition was a meeting of the council at which Ruf was asked his opinion in light of his standing as a local expert. In modern terms, Ruf, responding to a commission from the city government, offers his professional views regarding the provision of medical services in the city.

The audio CD contains all the audio data listed above (it is included with volume I and is only available as part of the complete edition). It was produced under the technical direction of Walter Weber, MELS Multimedia- & E-Learning Services, University of Zurich. Hildegard Elisabeth Keller was responsible for the conception, script and realization. Jaap Achterberg, Andreas Nievergelt and Hildegard Elisabeth Keller participated as speakers.

Sample Track

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Prescription for a Patient 1