Quote of the Day
an admirable concern to keep lines open to writing in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and America.
Subscribe to our mailing list
Edited by Claire Preston
Categories: 17th Century, British
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (168 pages)
We carry with us the wonders we seek without us; there is all Africa and her prodigies in us; we are that bold and adventurous piece of nature which he that studies wisely learns...
from Religio Medici
...of the elephant...there generally passeth an opinion it hath no joints; and this absurdity is secondeth to another, that being unable to lie down, it sleepeth against a tree, which, the hunters observing, do saw it almost asunder, whereon the beast relying, by the fall of the tree falls also down itself and is able to rise no more; which conceit is not the daughter of later times but an old and grey-headed error even in the says of Aristotle, as he delivereth in his book, De incessu animalium, and stands successively related by several other authors - Diodorus Siculus, Strabo, Ambrose, Cassiodore, Solinus, and many more. Now herein methinks men much forget themselves, not well considering the absurdity of such assertions...
Pseudodoxia Epidemica III.i.157
Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682), said Coleridge, was 'rich in various knowledge, exuberant in conceptions and conceits; contemplative, imaginative, often truly great and magnificent in his style'. This selection of Browne's writings presents the full range of his exuberant enthusiasms and his richly textured, allusive language. Physician and philosopher, Browne lived through a period of intellectual ferment, and his works reflect the expanding horizons of the age. He was boundlessly curious about the world. Best known for Religio Medici and Urn Burial, he also wrote tracts, letters to antiquarians, notebooks and observations on natural history. John Evelyn, visiting Browne in 1671, called his house a 'cabinet of rarities', and Claire Preston's selection has that same quality. Here readers will encounter Browne discussing death and resurrection, sneezing, astronomy, ostriches, hieroglyphics, rainbows, and much else. The extracts are arranged thematically, and Browne's sonorous text is annotated, with a detailed introduction and list of further reading.
Introduction: 'Janus in the Field of Knowledge'
A Note on the Text
Religio Medici: To the reader; reason and belief; The world as text; man and macrocosm; chaos; death;
last things;resurrection; election; learning; harmony; man and microcosm; avarice; precepts for dying
Pseudodoxia Epidemica: To the Reader; poplar error; Credulity; adherence to antiquity; hieroglyphics; plant lore; animals real and fabulous; dietry law; astronomy; language; divination; sneezing; cosmology; rainbows; oracles; Biblical error
Fossils; John Dee; Urn-Burial; a hidden museum
IV NATURAL HISTORY
Things to investigate; thunder; whispering galleries; magnetism and electricity; swimming and floating; of various animals; animal antipathies; ostriches; storks; marine life; corruption
Figures in nature; physiognomy; hieroglyphics; moles; the quincunx
Veneral disease; medical gossip
Tourist advice; financial prudence; charity; self-knowledge; sincerity; humility
List of Proper Names
You might also be interested in:
The Carcanet Blog New Poetries VIII: Sinad Morrissey on Conor Cleary read more The Earliest Witnesses: G.C. Waldrep read more Conor Cleary: NPVIII: Meet the Contributor read more New Poetries VIII: Tara Bergin on Suzannah V. Evans read more Suzannah V. Evans: NPVIII: Meet the Contributor read more New Poetries VIII: Andrew Wynn Owen on Tristram Fane Saunders read more
We thank the Arts Council England for their support and assistance in this interactive Project.
This website ©2000-2021 Carcanet Press Ltd