To Sir Thomas Browne Page


Some Sir Thomas Browne Links

In the marginalia, too, we talk only to ourselves; we therefore talk freshly — boldly — originally — with abandonnement — without conceit — much after the fashion of Jeremy Taylor, and Sir Thomas Browne, and Sir William Temple, and the anatomical Burton, and that most logical analogist, Butler, and some other people of the old day, who were too full of their matter to have any room for their manner, which, being thus left out of question, was a capital manner, indeed, — a model of manners, with a richly marginalic air. Edgar Allan Poe, MARGINALIA

Poe, who had only the highly desiderated wide margins in which to work, would have loved the form of the Web, where we may scribble to our hearts' content. In that spirit, and in addition to the various sources and materials linked in the notes to the works of Browne, here are a few more links to Browne on the web:

On-line textsBiography and CriticismMinor Links

On-line editions of the works of Sir Thomas Browne

Religio Medici, Hydriotaphia, the Garden of Cyrus, and the Letter to a Friend at the University of Oregon's Renascence Editions site; annotated HTML with introductions and a brief biography; transcribed from the 1869 edition of Bund. Spelling and punctuation regularized and modernized. Attractive and easy to read. (This edition of the text is now on several sites, but this remains the best version of it.)

Hydriotaphia and Letter to a Friend at the University of Toronto's English Library; TEI, not pleasant to read as running text, but very useful for searches. There is a flexible and easy-to-use search engine on the site.

Thomas Browne Religio Medici, 1643 at CCEL/Wheaton; annotated HTML of the Harvard Classics edition, with a brief life of Sir Thomas. Punctuation (but not usually spelling) "modernized". (If you'd like to consider the pitfalls of modernizing punctuation, see note 16 of this edition, which is necessitated by the replacement of a semi-colon by a period.) Also a brief article on Sir Thomas from The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge.

Sir Thomas Browne on Saintes; from Browne's correspondence, a description of the town of Saintes, with some annotation and links to illustrations. Also translated into French.

Sir Thomas Browne's Museum Clausum, the last of Browne's Miscellany Tracts. (Frames, but not terribly obtrusive frames.) There used to be many typos, especially in the Latin, but the last time I was there, some had been fixed, and some Latin rendered into English. The work has been translated into French as well, by Bernard Hoepffner (who has undertaken the translation of the Vulgar Errors as well).


Sir Thomas Browne. Biography of Sir Thomas Browne, brought to you by the Old Wykehamist Medical Society (Browne went to Winchester College).

A.J. Drake has provided, among many excellent Victorian texts, an e-text edition of Pater's Appreciations, which has an interesting essay on Sir Thomas: Pater Index and follow the instructions at the bottom of the page.

Charlotte Fell Smith (1909) John Dee: The first appendix, pages 2-4, gives a précis of Browne's relation with the Dees (with the emphasis on Dee, of course).

The physician and philosopher Sir Thomas Browne. An article on Browne and alchemy. I believe that the emphasis may mislead, especially with reference to Urn-Burial, which I take to be more an essay on a much more important, and broader, theme: the nature of reason, knowledge, and the natural world, and their relationships: what can we know, what it means to "know", what the difference is between created reason and uncreated knowledge; whether relations seen between facts are "real" or artefacts of our construction.

Sir Thomas Browne — A Tryal of Witches — Ivan Bunn. A good capsule biography and a slight discussion of Browne's attitude to witches and his part in a witch trial that led to the execution of two witches. With pictures and a brief note on the controversy that erupted in 1905 Norwich on the occasion of the tercentenary of Browne's birth; there were those who held he did not deserve commemoration. The subject was debated long and hard, reaching even the august pages of the Lancet. (Beware, however, of ahistorical bias, on this and on all other pages that touch on the subject of witches.)

Sir Thomas Browne. The Cambridge History of English and American Literature: An Encyclopedia in Eighteen Volumes, Vol. 7. Cavalier and Puritan. 1907-21. At Bartleby. George Saintsbury: a good short biography, also deals with the Exeter trial. Links lead to the remainder of the chapter, with criticism of individual works, beginning with Religio Medici and ending with Browne's letters; generally perceptive: Saintbury is nearly alone, in my experience, in pointing out the humor of Browne's prose, especially in Pseudodoxia Epidemica. Also covers other "Antiquaries".

Thomas Browne's The Garden of Cyrus, an essay on the ars memoriæ, Browne's take on it, and the result in Browne's work. Some related links can be found (among many unrelated links) at Memory Arts Resources at Random.

(Sitter) Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682), small images of two portraits held by the National Portrait Gallery London. One of them is the famous painting of Sir Thomas and his wife; the photograph on the cover of the Penguin edition is a detail of this painting. (These portraits are not presently on display in the gallery, where photography is in any case prohibited, so this may well be about the best you will see on the web, at least legally, barring somebody (else)'s willingness to fork over money to the gallery's curators.)

Thomas Browne, a small and quirky but accurate assessment of Browne (and while you're there, wander about some of the rest of this very large site; it's a good deal of fun and somehow Brownean in its structure and content).

The San Antonio College LitWeb Sir Thomas Browne Page, a portrait, a list of the major easily available editions of Sir Thomas Browne's works, and a link to (the former location of) Dr. Lynch's on-line version of Johnson's Life (mirrored on this site).

Browne, Thomas at the Galileo Project, capsule biography with dates and some interpretation (for instance, the author believes, contrary to the generally prevailing opinion, that Browne grew up in a wealthy environment. There is much to be said for this opinion and little to be said against it, except that the tradition from the time of his death onwards holds otherwise).

Minor, Tangential, and Quotations (and others):

Jornal de Poesia - Soares Feitosa has several paragraphs on Borges and Browne (in Portuguese).

Urban Legends Reference Pages: Horrors (Glass of Glass): persistence of one of the pseudodoxia tested by Browne.

The correspondence of Dickinson and Higginson, where the poet writes of her reading habits: "For Prose - Mr Ruskin - Sir Thomas Browne - and the Revelations."

Sir Browne and his resuscitated or reconstituted plant: Forgotten Experiments.

Browne and Elgar: The Enigma Variations

There are a number of editions of Bartlett's on line, which naturally contain extracts from Browne; for instance, Sir Thomas Browne. 1605-1682. Bartlett, John. 1901. Familiar Quotations at bartleby.

Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682), a spiritual meditation (not as good as Browne's own) based on the famous "Atlas his shoulders" quote (not identified; it is from Religio Medici) with a brief (and tendentious) biographical sketch based on information from

Sir Thomas Browne Quotations, actually one quotation, again unidentified and again (of course) from Religio Medici, indeed from the same passage. The not altogether cogent remark on the meaning of the phrase completely ignores its context, wherein Browne explains it with great thoroughness.

Osler Library of the History of Medicine has an outstanding collection of many editions of the works of Sir Thomas Browne.

Intriguing World of Weeds-(12/11/98) notes that "The word ragweed first entered the English language in 1658" in Garden of Cyrus; it would be more correct to say that this is the first Oxford Dictionary citation of the word (in this form; it also exists as ragwort). The OED, though vastly and justly admired, is not nearly so thorough in its citations as it might be, so the claim should be treated with some caution.

A Wordwizard Writes, a lesson in being wary on the web: compare what the author of the page says that Browne wrote with what he actually wrote, in Pseudodoxia Epidemica. (Not to mention the common error of implicitly attributing to Browne an opinion that he would merely have been reporting, if he had indeed written such a thing at all. But this is fair, I suppose, in that Browne does the same thing to Pliny, even after duly noting, in Book I, the prevalence of that particular mistake.) (This link may well be dead.)

Noticer: The Visionary Art of Annie Dillard, an essay that originally appeared in the Massachusetts Review; contains the curious passage "Whether any such thing as the 'natural grotesque" actually exists has, of course, long been debated by the likes of Sir Thomas Browne, Hegel, Ruskin, and, most recently, by Wolfgang Keyser. That it exists, at least for a time, for Annie Dillard, seems beyond question." A kind correspondent has pointed out that the name should be "Kayser", referring me to Kayser's Das Groteske, seine Gestaltung in Malerei und Dichtung, but I still have reservations about that "the likes of"; perhaps the author means "authors as varied as...".


This page is maintained at the University of Chicago by James Eason, who welcomes corrections and additional links, but probably won't do anything about them, because of time constraints.