New York Review Books, £7.99
Religio Medici, and Urne-Buriall, By Sir Thomas Browne
Boyd Tonkin is Senior Writer and a columnist at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Literary Editor at The Independent, and before that Social Policy Editor and then Books Editor at the New Statesman magazine. He has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes and has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize. In 2001, he re-founded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for literature in translation, and serves on its judging panel every year.
Saturday 15 September 2012
From Coleridge to Woolf and Sebald, later writers have fallen in love with the hypnotic prose of Thomas Browne.
The quest of this Norwich doctor (1605-1682) to understand himself, life and death in the light of faith, science and history comprises a unique self-portrait.
This reader-friendly edition shows that though religion, medicine and archaeology have moved on, his questions remain, eg "How the bulk of a man should sink into so few pounds of bones and ashes". Like having an audience with Hamlet.
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