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Browne, Thomas, Sir, 1605-1682

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Definition: Browne, Sir Thomas (1605 - 1682) from

The Macmillan Encyclopedia

He studied medicine at Oxford and in Europe and settled in Norwich in 1637. Religio Medici (1643) is a book of philosophic and religious reflections, written in elaborate prose. In Pseudodoxia Epidemica (1646, also known as Vulgar Errors) he critically surveyed many popular superstitions. He also wrote two antiquarian treatises, Hydriotaphia: Urn Burial (1658) and The Garden of Cyrus (1658).

Summary Article: Browne, [Sir] Thomas from Continuum Encyclopedia of British Literature
It is safe to say that Browne’s essays represent some of the most finely crafted prose of any British author. Browne’s complex and often ambivalent stance toward Christianity has earned him a unique and unsettling position among critics from the start. Samuel JOHNSON in his Life of Sir Thomas Browne (1756) posited that Browne may have “hazarded an expression” that could be misinterpreted as blasphemous only if taken out of the overall context of his literary corpus. The real challenge and treasure of reading Browne’s work is to be found in grappling with the massive breadth of learning that informed elaborate contexts of his essays and coming to terms with his often elusive tenor.Of all the essays, the Religio Medici (1642) stands as the central text defining both Browne’s style and world-view. In the Religio, Browne dealt with a growing concern during the 17th c. with the physical sciences and the various mechanistic philosophies that purporte...    Continue Reading

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