Back when the English language was still young and impressionable, a London-born physician who took up the pen as a gentleman’s hobby made quite a dent, fathering a dictionary page’s worth of words we still use and tend to think of as ageless—“medical,” “suicide,” “exhaustion,” “hallucination” and “coma” among them.
The handful of books and tracts in which these words first appeared was even more remarkable than the coinages, a body of work as strange and unclassifiable as any in English literature.
That this doctor’s name—Thomas Browne—no longer keeps company, at least in America, with those of Shakespeare, Chaucer and other architects of the language would have come as a great disappointment to a multitude of other authors who revered Browne and passed his writings along, generation to generation, like a kind of formula for the philosopher’s stone.

—Reviving Sir Thomas Browne.

Back when the English language was still young and impressionable, a London-born physician who took up the pen as a gentleman’s hobby made quite a dent, fathering a dictionary page’s worth of words we still use and tend to think of as ageless—“medical,” “suicide,” “exhaustion,” “hallucination” and “coma” among them.

The handful of books and tracts in which these words first appeared was even more remarkable than the coinages, a body of work as strange and unclassifiable as any in English literature.

That this doctor’s name—Thomas Browne—no longer keeps company, at least in America, with those of Shakespeare, Chaucer and other architects of the language would have come as a great disappointment to a multitude of other authors who revered Browne and passed his writings along, generation to generation, like a kind of formula for the philosopher’s stone.

Reviving Sir Thomas Browne.

  1. krisnagera reblogged this from theparisreview and added:
    Sir Thomas Browne (October 19, 1605 - October 19, 1682)
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    Back when the English language was still young and impressionable, a London-born physician who took up the pen as a...
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    Back when the English language was still young and impressionable, a London-born physician who took up the pen as a...
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    I want to like—or at least be conversant about—Thomas Browne. I really do. He is so relevant to my interest in Early...
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