Religio Medici and Hydiotaphia, or Urne-Buriall
Publication Date: August 7, 2012
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Sir Thomas Browne is one of the supreme stylists of the English language: a coiner of words and spinner of phrases to rival Shakespeare; the wielder of a weird and wonderful erudition; an inquiring spirit in the mold of Montaigne. Browne was an inspiration to the Romantics as well as to W.G. Sebald, and his work is quirky, sonorous, and enchanting.
Here this baroque master’s two most enduring and admired works, Religio Medici and Urne-Buriall, appear in a new edition that has been annotated and introduced by the distinguished scholars Ramie Targoff and Stephen Greenblatt (author of the best-selling Will in the World and the National Book Award–winning The Swerve). In Religio Medici Browne mulls over the relation between his medical profession and his profession of the Christian faith, pondering the respective claims of science and religion, questions that are still very much alive today. The discovery of an ancient burial site in an English field prompted Browne to write Urne-Buriall, which is both an early anthropological examination of different practices of interment and a profound meditation on mortality. Its grave and exquisite music has resounded for generations.
Stephen Greenblatt (Ph.D. Yale) is Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. Also General Editor of "The Norton Shakespeare", he is the author of eleven books, including "The Swerve: How the World Became Modern; Shakespeare's Freedom"; "Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare"; "Hamlet in Purgatory"; "Practicing New Historicism"; "Marvelous Possessions: The Wonder of the New World"; and "Learning to Curse: Essays in Early Modern Culture". He has edited seven collections of criticism, including "Cultural Mobility: A Manifesto", and is a founding coeditor of the journal "Representations". His honors include the MLA's James Russell Lowell Prize for "Shakespearean Negotiations: The Circulation of Social Energy in Renaissance England", the Distinguished Humanist Award from the Mellon Foundation, the Wilbur Cross Medal from the Yale University Graduate School, the William Shakespeare Award for Classical Theatre, the Erasmus Institute Prize, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and the Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of California, Berkeley. He was president of the Modern Language Association of America and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Ramie Targoff is associate professor of English at Brandeis University. She is the author of "Common Prayer: The Language of Public Devotion in Early Modern England," also published by the University of Chicago Press.