Browne, Sir Thomas (16051682)

Browne, Sir Thomas, physician and religious thinker, born in London; resided at Norwich for nearly half a century, and died there; was knighted by Charles II.; “was,” Professor Saintsbury says, “the greatest prose writer perhaps, when all things are taken together, in the whole range of English”; his principal works are “Religio Medici,” “Inquiries into Vulgar Errors,” and “Hydriotaphia, or Urn-Burial, a Discourse of the Sepulchral Urns found in Norfolk”; “all of the very first importance in English literature,...” adds the professor, “the 'Religio Medici' the greatest favourite, and a sort of key to the others;” “a man,” says Coleridge, “rich in various knowledge, exuberant in conceptions and conceits, contemplative, imaginative, often truly great, and magnificent in his style and diction.... He is a quiet and sublime enthusiast, with a strong tinge of the fantastic. He meditated much on death and the hereafter, and on the former in its relation to, or leading on to, the latter” (16051682).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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