« Descartes' Cure for Constipation | Main | Ezekias Woodward, Christ-Mas Day (1656) »

December 21, 2010


Stephen Menn

Nice to see Hydriotaphia getting some mention; George Saintsbury (long out of fashion) makes much of it in his History of English Prose Rhythm. The story of Heraclitus' death from dropsy and various attempts at a cure is in Diogenes Laertius IX,3-4 (maybe other places too); the story probably arose from something in his doctrine, but a variety of interpretations have been given. I would have thought that surveys of Gothic tended to begin with Walpole's Castle of Otranto and Lewis' The Monk, but I've never actually read either of them, I just remember what my fellow-undergraduates were reading for their courses.

Kevin Faulkner

Important to remember that 'Urn-Burial' is only one half of Browne's literary diptych. Most read it imagining they have Browne comprehended without bothering to read its 'twin' or 'mirror' discourse 'The garden of Cyrus'.

In complete contradistinction and antithetical to the theme of death, imagery of darkness and philosophical speculation of the unknowingness of the human condition of 'Urn-Burial' its counterpart 'The Garden of Cyrus' concerns itself with life, growth, imagery of light and scientific certainty.

Not heard of 'Urn-Burial' being described as Gothic before, an apt description if a little removed historically from what is usually considered the first work of Gothic literature 'The Castle of Otranto' by Horace Walpole a whole century later. But an interesting review nonetheless of what is a classic of World literature, note how its very opening sentence exhibits Browne's parallelism and subtle humour 'In the deep discovery of the subterranean world, a shallow part would satisfy some enquirers.

Kevin Faulkner

N.B. your quotation opening 'Urnal Interrments....' is in fact a description of adipocere or Graveyard-soap, generally considered to be Browne's sole scientific discovery, but he did introduce the word 'electricity' and many, many others into the English language too.


I strictly recommend not to wait until you earn enough cash to order goods! You should get the mortgage loans or just small business loan and feel fine

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)