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The Major Works (Penguin Classics)

4.35 of 5 stars 4.35  ·  rating details  ·  80 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Presents an account of common errors in subjects including sciences, history, literature and philosophy. This title includes Hydriotaphia or 'Urn Buriall', The Garden of Cyrus, A Letter to a Friend, and Christian Morals.
Paperback, Penguin Classics, 560 pages
Published September 29th 1977 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published 1686)
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That it bee, in sublime portione, the richly dressed thoughts of a bearded man of wholesome measure, cantering in idyll but sturdey pace across pages yellowed with the ancient and hallowed wisdom of an age well-marked by the grimm shadows of war and its terrible covenants. A beacone to travellers wearey and benighted by spartan counters and tabletops checkered spic-and-span, the flyckering recrudescence of cherubes and seraphim endeavoring with roseate smiles and beguiling inferences to induce t ...more
Don't listen to me, listen to Virginia Woolf:

From Woolf's Essay "Sir Thomas Browne", a review of the Golden Cockerel edition of the Works of Sir Thomas Browne, published in Times Literary Supplement (1923)

The 'great revival of interest in the work of Sir Thomas Browne' which the publishers discover would, one might have hoped, have justified a less limited edition and a lower price. But why fly in the face of facts? Few people love the writings of Sir Thomas Browne, but those who do are of
English prose as Baroque altarpiece. Polychrome gorgeousness. Tumultuous masses of gold, alabaster, jasper and marble. I've never encountered writing so artful. Every word--singly by its sound or shape, or communally in its juxtaposition with others--tugs a chord, releases an echo. Lytton Strachey once demurred to defend Browne against detractors by saying that you either like an ornate style or you don't, there's no use trying to convert or dissuade. If you happen to like "baroque" prose--prose ...more
No one reads Thomas Browne anymore, which is unfortunate, because his fan club includes some major literary heroes of mine... Borges, Virginia Woolf, W.G. Sebald, Tony Kushner... and now me. These essays are extremely weird. They express a sort of pre-Enlightenment sensibility, one that comes from a "man of learning" in an era before learning was divided up so rigorously. And nothing will make you feel more cosmically irrelevant as the last several pages of "Hydriotaphia."
Lovely, intricate prose. And of course "Urn Burial" is brilliant. I read this for the language--- read it because Sebald and Borges recommnded Browne, because E.R. Eddison and Jacob Bronowski quoted from Browne. Never mind the 17th-c. theological arguments. Read it for the sheer beauty of the language.
Chris Schaeffer
As far as I'm concerned, THE master of 17th century English prose par excellance, the rhetorical descendent of Sidney and Spenser. I just really love it. Highlights include, of course, 'Hydriotaphia' and his discourses on elephants and badgers.
Night RPM
Probably one of my 10 favorite books, my bible. The erudition, the winding, labyrinthine prose... but most of all, his touchingly unshakable faith in God. This last part is the reason why a lot of "smart" elites are turned off of Browne, and read him only for style. It's one of the best reasons to read Browne in this day, to me.
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After graduating M.A. from Broadgates Hall, Oxford (1629), he studied medicine privately and worked as an assistant to an Oxford doctor. He then attended the Universities of Montpellier and Padua, and in 1633 he was graduated M.D. at Leiden. Browne's medical education in Europe also earned him incorporation as M.D. from Oxford, and in 1637 he moved to Norwich, where he lived and practiced medicine ...more
More about Thomas Browne...
Urne Burial Religio Medici Religio Medici & Urne-Buriall Hydriotaphia & The Garden of Cyrus Pseudodoxia Epidemica: Or, Enquiries into Commonly Presumed Truths (Oxford English Texts)

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