The Complete Works of Sir Thomas Browne

Posted on Monday 10th December 2012

Thomas Browne, the seventeenth-century English doctor and scientist, wrote some of the most ravishing prose ever produced in our language, and he remains a key figure in the literary canon. His writings were deeply influential in his own time and in subsequent centuries: fans have included Dr Johnson, Coleridge, Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, Virginia Woolf, EM Forster, and WG Sebald.

It is unusual that no complete scholarly edition of this important writer has ever been attempted or published, but a recent very substantial AHRC award will allow Professor Claire Preston and eleven other editors in 10 institutions located in the UK, France, and the USA, to produce an 8-volume complete works, scheduled to appear from Oxford University Press between 2015 and 2019.

The award will be administered from Birmingham, and as the general editor and principal investigator on this project, Claire will have funding to appoint two post-doctoral research associates and two doctoral students who will work closely with all the editors as well as producing their own original work; the award provides funding for Claire and her two co-investigators, Dr Kevin Killeen (York) and Dr Andrew Zurcher (Cambridge); and significant research, travel, and conference expenses for all the editors over five years from January 2013. The first volume will appear in 2015, and will coincide with an exhibition on early-modern curiosity curated by the editorial team at the Royal Society.