Religio Medici and Hydriotaphia

Thomas Browne (1605 - 1682)

Religio Medici (The Religion of a Doctor) sets out Sir Thomas Browne's spiritual testament as well as being an early psychological self-portrait. In its day, the book was a European best-seller. It was published in 1643 by the newly-qualified physician, and its unorthodox views placed it swiftly upon the Papal Index Librorum Prohibitorum in 1645. Although predominantly concerned with Christian faith, the Religio also meanders into digressions upon alchemy, hermetic philosophy, astrology, and physiognomy.

Hydriotaphia, Urn Burial, or a Discourse of the Sepulchral Urns lately found in Norfolk, was published in 1658. Its nominal subject was the discovery of a Roman urn burial in Norfolk. The discovery of these remains prompts Browne to deliver, first, a careful description of the antiquities found, and then a careful survey of most of the burial and funerary customs, ancient and current, of which his era was aware. The most famous part of the work, though, is the fifth chapter, where Browne quite explicitly turns to discuss man's struggles with mortality, and the uncertainty of his fate and fame in this world and the next, to produce an extended funerary meditation tinged with melancholia. The changes wrought by time and eternity, the fleetingness of mortal fame, and our feeble attempts to cope with the certainty of death are Browne's subjects. Yet, at the same time, Browne can be tersely witty, mocking human vainglory. A piece of exquisite baroque prose that George Saintsbury called "the longest piece, perhaps, of absolutely sublime rhetoric to be found in the prose literature of the world," Hydriotaphia displays an astonishing command of English prose rhythm and diction. (Summary from Wikipedia)

Genre(s): Religion, Early Modern

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 00 00 Religio Medici - To the Reader Nicole Lee
Play 01 01 Religio Medici - Pt I: Sections 1 - 12 Nicole Lee
Play 02 02 Religio Medici - Pt I: Sections 13 - 19 Nicole Lee
Play 03 03 Religio Medici - Pt I: Sections 20 - 29 Nicole Lee
Play 04 04 Religio Medici - Pt I: Sections 30 - 39 Nicole Lee
Play 05 05 Religio Medici - Pt I: Sections 40 - 49 Nicole Lee
Play 06 06 Religio Medici - Pt I: Sections 50 - 60 Nicole Lee
Play 07 07 Religio Medici - Pt II: Sections 1 - 6 Nicole Lee
Play 08 08 Religio Medici - Pt II: Sections 7 - 15 Nicole Lee
Play 09 09 Hydriotaphia - Dedication Nicole Lee
Play 10 10 Hydriotaphia - Chapter 1 Nicole Lee
Play 11 11 Hydriotaphia - Chapter 2 Nicole Lee
Play 12 12 Hydriotaphia - Chapter 3 Nicole Lee
Play 13 13 Hydriotaphia - Chapter 4 Nicole Lee
Play 14 14 Hydriotaphia - Chapter 5 Nicole Lee