Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

Religio Medici and Hydriotaphia

Religio Medici and Hydriotaphia by Thomas Browne
By:

Religio Medici (The Religion of a Doctor) sets out Sir Thomas Browne's spiritual testament as well as being an early psychological self-portrait. In its day, the book was a European best-seller. It was published in 1643 by the newly-qualified physician, and its unorthodox views placed it swiftly upon the Papal Index Librorum Prohibitorum in 1645. Although predominantly concerned with Christian faith, the Religio also meanders into digressions upon alchemy, hermetic philosophy, astrology, and physiognomy. Hydriotaphia, Urn Burial, or a Discourse of the Sepulchral Urns lately found in Norfolk, was published in 1658. Its nominal subject was the discovery of a Roman urn burial in Norfolk. The discovery of these remains prompts Browne to deliver, first, a careful description of the antiquities found, and then a careful survey of most of the burial and funerary customs, ancient and current, of which his era was aware. The most famous part of the work, though, is the fifth chapter, where Browne quite explicitly turns to discuss man's struggles with mortality, and the uncertainty of his fate and fame in this world and the next, to produce an extended funerary meditation tinged with melancholia. The changes wrought by time and eternity, the fleetingness of mortal fame, and our feeble attempts to cope with the certainty of death are Browne's subjects. Yet, at the same time, Browne can be tersely witty, mocking human vainglory. A piece of exquisite baroque prose that George Saintsbury called "the longest piece, perhaps, of absolutely sublime rhetoric to be found in the prose literature of the world," Hydriotaphia displays an astonishing command of English prose rhythm and diction.

First Page:

RELIGIO MEDICI,

HYDRIOTAPHIA, AND THE LETTER TO A FRIEND.

BY

SIR THOMAS BROWNE, KNT.

WITH AN INTRODUCTION AND NOTES BY

J. W. WILLIS BUND, M.A., LL.B., GONVILLE AND CAIUS COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE, OF LINCOLN'S INN, BARRISTER AT LAW.

INTRODUCTION.

SIR THOMAS BROWNE (whose works occupy so prominent a position in the literary his tory of the seventeenth century) is an author who is now little known and less read. This com parative 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 begin ning 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 school; his style, to quote Johnson himself, "is vigorous but rugged, it is learned but pedantick, it is deep but obscure, it strikes but does not please, it commands but does not allure... Continue reading book >>


Stream audiobook and download chapters




eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book (Rated: 5 Stars - 1 vote)



Popular Genres
More Genres
Languages
Paid Books