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Look Inside Thomas Browne and the Writing of Early Modern Science

Thomas Browne and the Writing of Early Modern Science


  • Date Published: January 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521107792

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About the Authors
  • Claire Preston argues that Thomas Browne's work can be fully understood only within the range of disciplines and practices associated with natural philosophy and early modern empiricism. Early modern methods of cataloguing, collecting, experimentation and observation organised his writing on many subjects from medicine and botany to archaeology and antiquarianism. Browne framed philosophical concerns in the terms of civil behaviour, with collaborative networks of intellectual exchange, investigative selflessness, courtesy, modesty and ultimately the generosity of the natural world itself, all characterising the return to 'innocent' knowledge, which, for Browne, is the proper end of human enquiry. In this major evaluation of Browne's oeuvre, Preston examines how the developing essay form, the discourse of scientific experiment, and above all Bacon's model of intellectual progress and cooperation determined the unique character of Browne's contributions to early modern literature, science and philosophy.

    • The first major new critical assessment of Browne's oeuvre in 20 years
    • An interdisciplinary study of Browne's writing and his scientific and philosophical thought
    • Includes a substantial chapter on each of Browne's major works
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: '… Thomas Browne and the Writing of Early Modern Science is a fitting tribute to its subject.' The Times Literary Supplement

    Review of the hardback: '… one of the best ever written on Thomas Browne … Preston teaches the reader to think about Browne anew … a prose style that is vivid, elegant, and compelling.' Minerva

    Review of the hardback: 'Claire Preston's eloquent study, Thomas Browne and the Writing of Early Modern Science (Cambridge University Press), perceptively illuminates the man and the work.' The Times Literary Supplement

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521107792
    • length: 268 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • contains: 6 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Browne's civility
    2. Religio Medici: the junior endeavour
    3. The civil monument: Pseudodoxia Epidemica and investigative culture
    4. The laureate of the grave: Urne-Buriall and the failure of memory
    5. The jocund cabinet and the melancholy museum: a brief excursion into Brownean comedy
    6. The epitome of the earth: The Garden of Cyrus and verdancy
    7. The fruits of natural knowledge: the fugitive writings, and a conclusion.

  • Author

    Claire Preston, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge
    Claire Preston is Fellow and Lecturer in English, Sidney Sussex College, and Newton Trust Lecturer, Faculty of English, University of Cambridge.

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