Sir Thomas Browne
English physician and author
Sir Thomas Browne (19 October 1605 – 19 October 1682) was an English author of varied works which reveal his wide learning in diverse fields including medicine, religion, science and the esoteric. Browne's writings display a deep curiosity towards the natural world, influenced by the scientific revolution of Baconian enquiry, while his Christian faith exuded tolerance and goodwill towards humanity in an often intolerant era.
St Michael, Cheapside, London, England
Browne was born in London, educated at Oxford and abroad, knighted (1671) by Charles II. His Religio Medici, in which Browne attempted to reconcile science and religion, was written about 1635. After circulating in manuscript, it was first published in a pirated edition (1642); an authorized edition followed (1643).
Inspired by the discovery of funeral urns near Norwich, he wrote Hydriotaphia: Urn Burial (1658), a solemn reflection on death and immortality, in which he expressed a belief in the futility of things here on earth. Published with Urn Burial was the more optimistic The Garden of Cyrus, a work devoted to the mystic symbolism of the number five. Browne’s philosophy is now primarily of historical interest. It is the quality of his faith and, particularly, his mode of expression that make him one of the outstanding figures in the history of English literature. His other notable works are Pseudodoxia Epidemica (1646), commonly known as Vulgar Errors, and Christian Morals (1716).
Quotes by Sir Thomas Browne
Works by Sir Thomas Browne
In its day, Religio Medici was a best-seller all throughout Europe. Even to this day, it is widely circulated among novelists and writers. The book seems to be a type of personal memoir. In it, Sir Thomas Browne deeply ruminates about the world. His reflections are often theological--and possibly controversial (The book was eventually banned in the 17th century). Nevertheless, it contains beautiful phrases that express spiritual truths in new and interesting ways. The prose can be difficult to decipher at times, but the editor has provided notes where needed, explaining words and illusions. Many might enjoy getting lost in the powerful prose.
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