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Sir Thomas Browne is one of the supreme stylists of the English language: a coiner of words and spinner of phrases to rival Shakespeare; the wielder of a weird and wonderful erudition; an inquiring spirit in the mold of Montaigne. Browne was an inspiration to the Romantics as well as to W.G. Sebald, and his work is quirky, sonorous, and enchanting. Here this baroque master's two most enduring and admired works, Religio Medici and Urne-Buriall, appear in a new edition that has been annotated and introduced by the distinguished scholars Ramie Targoff and Stephen Greenblatt (author of the best-selling Will in the World and the National Book Award-winning The Swerve). In Religio Medici Browne mulls over the relation between his medical profession and his profession of the Christian faith, pondering the respective claims of science and religion, questions that are still very much alive today. The discovery of an ancient burial site in an English field prompted Browne to write Urne-Buriall, which is both an early anthropological examination of different practices of interment and a profound meditation on mortality. Its grave and exquisite music has resounded for generations.
This comparative oblivion to which he has been consigned is the more remarkable, as, if for nothing else, his writings deserve to be studied as an example of the English language in what may be termed a transition state. The prose of the Elizabethan age was beginning to pass away and give place to a more inflated style of writing, a style which, after passing through various stages of development, culminated in that of Johnson. Browne is one of the best early examples of this Bcbool; his style, to quote Johnson himself, is vigorous but rugged, it is learned but pedantick, it i.H deep but obscure, it strikes but does not please, it commands but does not allure...
Sir Thomas Browne, un autor elogiado por lectores tan como Melville o Borges.