New York Review Books, £7.99
Religio Medici, and Urne-Buriall, By Sir Thomas Browne
Boyd Tonkin is Literary Editor at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Social Policy Editor of the New Statesman and has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes. He has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in literature.
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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