Sunday, June 28, 2015

What is Hugh Aldersey-Williams reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Hugh Aldersey-Williams, author of In Search of Sir Thomas Browne: The Life and Afterlife of the Seventeenth Century's Most Inquiring Mind.

His entry begins:
With a new book coming out, I thought I would prepare for the festival circuit by reading Francis Plug: How To Be a Public Author by Paul Ewen. Poised somewhere between fact and fiction, it recounts the author’s attempts to ingratiate himself with a series of prize-winning writers and get them to sign their books for him while trying to hoover up as much free drink as he can – a kind of Fear and Loathing ... on the literary circuit. It’s mad and...[read on]
About In Search of Sir Thomas Browne, from the publisher:
The extraordinary life and ideas of one of the greatest—and most neglected—minds in history.

Sir Thomas Browne (1605–1682) was an English writer, physician, and philosopher whose work has inspired everyone from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Jorge Luis Borges, Virginia Woolf to Stephen Jay Gould. In an intellectual adventure like Sarah Bakewell's book about Montaigne, How to Live, Hugh Aldersey-Williams sets off not just to tell the story of Browne's life but to champion his skeptical nature and inquiring mind.

Mixing botany, etymology, medicine, and literary history, Aldersey-Williams journeys in his hero's footsteps to introduce us to witches, zealots, natural wonders, and fabulous creatures of Browne's time and ours. We meet Browne the master prose stylist, responsible for introducing hundreds of words into English, including electricity, hallucination, and suicide. Aldersey-Williams reveals how Browne’s preoccupations—how to disabuse the credulous of their foolish beliefs, what to make of order in nature, how to unite science and religion—are relevant today.

In Search of Sir Thomas Browne is more than just a biography—it is a cabinet of wonders and an argument that Browne, standing at the very gates of modern science, remains an inquiring mind for our own time. As Stephen Greenblatt has written, Browne is "unnervingly one of our most adventurous contemporaries."
Visit Hugh Aldersey-Williams's website.

The Page 99 Test: Anatomies.

The Page 99 Test: In Search of Sir Thomas Browne.

Writers Read: Hugh Aldersey-Williams.

--Marshal Zeringue