The common conception of Sir Thomas Browne was that he was an antiquarian, a recluse who withdrew from the political and religious controversies of his age to live his own peaceful and uneventful life alone with his thoughts and who found his deepest enjoyment and. interest in ancient and unusual events, in the books, thoughts, and superstitions that belong to the antiquarian. This conception has permeated almost all the criticism that has been written about him and his works until it has become almost traditional. It is the purpose of this study to show that the conception, while it has some justification, is, for the most part, false, and to indicate by a close examination of Browne’s works and his private correspondence the interest that he had both in the events and in the changes of thought that were taking place during his lifetime.
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