Saturday, July 18, 2015

Thomas Browne in the Times

The New York Times in 2012, on Thomas Browne:

it seems that he is now once again in the process of being exhumed and immortalized, as he almost certainly expected he would be.
The article cites a resurgence of interest in Browne: a New Directions edition of Urne-Buriall selling in unlikely places, a New York Review Books edition of Urne-Buriall and Religio Medici edited by Stephen Greenblatt and Ramie Targoff, and a forthcoming Oxford University Press edition of all of Browne’s writing. “Taken together,” says 2012 Times, “the efforts represent the most sustained attention devoted to Browne since the 1960s.”

The New York Times in 2015, on Thomas Browne:
Are you feeling guilty yet for not having heard of Sir Thomas Browne? Or, if you have heard of him, for not spending more time savoring his greatest work, an essay on funerary rites alluringly titled Urne-Buriall [ . . . ]? You shouldn’t, really. You are hardly alone. Browne is a “forgotten” man — so concedes what must be his most obsessive contemporary champion, the English science writer Hugh Aldersey-Williams.

In Search of Sir Thomas Browne is Aldersey-Williams’s attempt to do something about this sad state of affairs.
I am amused by the discrepancy between these two accounts. My guess is that 2015 Times didn’t read 2012 Times. And 2015 perhaps trusted too much in Aldersey-Williams’s picture of things.

And as for “forgotten” Browne is likely unforgettable for anyone who has read his work. The rest is buzz.

A related post
Word of the day: quincunx

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