RELIGIO MEDICI AND OTHER ESSAYS.
(London: [Printed at the Ballantyne Press for] Chapman & Hall, Ltd., ). 184 x 140 mm. (7 1/4 x 5 1/2"). 3 p.l., 230,  pp.
Pleasing contemporary caramel-colored half calf over brown linen boards, raised bands with a row of gilt drawer handle ornaments above and below, gilt-ruled compartments, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt. With a frontispiece portrait of the author. A touch of wear to joints, mild offsetting to title page from frontispiece, otherwise a fine copy, quite clean, fresh, and bright internally, in a scarcely worn binding.
This is an attractively printed copy, done on excellent textured paper, of Browne's first and most celebrated work, accompanied by other pieces, including "Hydriotaphia: Urn Burial," one of the first archaeological monographs in English. The Oxford Companion describes "Religio" as "a confession of Christian faith (qualified by an eclectic and generally skeptical attitude), and a collection of opinions on a vast number of subjects more or less connected with religion, expressed with a wealth of fancy and wide erudition." Readers have always been fascinated by the book's style, by the mind that both style and contents reveal, and by the author's combination of detachment from the world and curiosity about its smallest physical objects. Browne says in his preface that the book was written for his "private exercise and satisfaction," but he was not repelled by its unauthorized publication in 1642, nor did he discourage its republication a year later. Physician and writer Sir Thomas Browne (1605-82) was one of the great 17th century stylists of English prose, and one of the most innovative thinkers of his time. The present edition was issued by the Verulam Club (the name taken from Francis Bacon's title of Lord Verulam), described in a contemporary review from "The International Studio: An Illustrated Magazine of Fine and Applied Art" as a group "which aims to produce great examples of literature in a manner befitting their contents. . . . These books are printed in a very legible type on British handmade paper . . . and considering their excellent get up, they are well worth the money." (ST15557-4)